what is zero budget natural farming

By Manish Singh|Updated : February 16th, 2021

'Zero Budget' means without using any loan, and without spending any money on the purchase of inputs (seeds, fertilizers), 'Natural farming' means farming without chemicals, read further for details. This article is good for UPSC Prelims and Mains GS Paper III(Indian economic development, Agriculture, COP-14, ZBNF, biofertilizers, Green Revolution, Jeevamrutha, Bijamrita, Acchadana(Mulching), Whapasa).


  • Addressing the United Nations conference on desertification (COP-14), Indian PM told the global community that India is focusing on Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF). ZBNF was also highlighted in budget 2019 in the bid to double farmer's income by 2022.
  • 'Zero Budget' means without using any loan, and without spending any money on the purchase of inputs (seeds, fertilizers).
  • 'Natural farming' means farming without chemicals. By using biofertilizers, earthworms, cow dung etc.
  • It was originally promoted by agriculturist Subhash Palekar, who developed it in the mid-1990s as an alternative to the Green Revolution’s methods that are driven by chemical fertilizers and pesticides and intensive irrigation.

Four Components of ZBNF:

  1. Jeevamrutha: It is a mixture of fresh cow dung and aged cow urine (both from India's indigenous cow breed), jaggery, pulse flour, water and soil; to be applied on farmland.
  2. Bijamrita: It is a concoction of neem leaves & pulp, tobacco and green chillies prepared for insect and pest management, that can be used to treat seeds.
  3. Acchadana(Mulching): It protects topsoil during cultivation and does not destroy it by tilling.
  4. Whapasa: It is the condition where there are both air molecules and water molecules present in the soil. Thereby helping in reducing irrigation requirement.

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