It deals with the adoption of naturally available resources in farming. The key aspects integral to it and which require locally available materials are:
- seeds treated with cow-dung and urine
- Aeration of soil for favourable soil conditions
- cover crops, straw and other organic matter so as to retain soil moisture and build humus content.
- soil treated with cow dung, cow urine and other local materials to increase microbes presence.
- ZBNF was started in the form of revolution by the farmers on the ground level.
- Initially, it was started by the support of Subhash Palekar along with the Farmers Association named Karnataka Rajya Retha Sangh.
- In 2018, Himachal Government started the scheme named Prakratik Kheti Khushal Kisan Yojana.
- Prior to that, during 2015, the government of Andhra Pradesh launched ZBNF under the ambit of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana scheme.
- Zero Budget Natural Farming will help in increasing the income of the farmers.
- Farmers will also get rid of the process of taking loans.
- There will be a reduction in Soil Erosion.
- Zero cost eco-friendly facility will also be made available.
- Zero Budget Natural Farming will be favourable to all kids of Agroclimatic zones.
- In simple terms viewing the whole ZBNF structure, benefits are:
- reduced use of electricity and water.
- improved local ecosystems and biodiversity
- improvements in soil, livelihoods, water
- improved farmer’s health
- no toxic chemical residues in the environment
- climate resilience
- women’s empowerment as well as their nutrition
How is ZBNF better than organic farming?
- Organic agriculture involves materials’ addition required in bulk and has to be purchased.
- Further, these are in large amounts of vermicompost, manure and other materials.
- These are expensive for most small farm holders.
Steps taken by the Indian Government
- As per the tradition of planning of agriculture, an amount of rupees five-hundred crores has been sanctioned.
- Natural Project on Organic Farming has been provided with an amount of 12.5 crores in 2020-21 budget.
- Organic value chain Development of the North-Eastern region is being provided with an amount of 175 crores.
- According to the Bio Agriculture portal, along with the organic tag of agricultural product, the facility of organic marketing will be made available soon.
Concerns regarding Zero Budget Natural Farming
- lack in the field of research regarding the Zero Budget Natural Farming.
- Cost of cultivation will eventually come down after the adoption of ZBNF.
- The other concern is related to the yield or production.
- While ZBNF has helped in the preservation of soil fertility, its role in increasing productivity and income of farmers isn’t conclusive
- ZBNF requires the need of an Indian breed cow, whose numbers are declining at a fast pace.
- Sikkim is India's first organic state has seen a decline in yields following its conversion to organic farming.
- Many farmers have reverted to conventional farming after seeing their ZBNF returns drop after a few years.
Measures to be taken
- The need of an hour is to increase the yield per hectare of the land.
- Adoption of innovative methods so as to increase the yield in the primary sector.
- The Government is needed to invest in agriculture and should provide more irrigation facilities.
- Farmers are unaware of technological intervention and new farming practices.
- Lack of training and skill enhancement is lacking in agriculture.
- The government should provide its primary focus to the marketing of agricultural commodities.
- As the farmers are not able to realise the best prices for their commodities because of the intervention of the middleman.
- Moreover, the supply chain is under the informal sector.