What is Zero Budget Natural Farming?
Zero Budget Natural Farming is the procedure of chemical-free agriculture, that would end a reliance on the loans, cut the cost of production, and the debt cycle for the farmers.
- Here the word “Budget” indicates expenses and credit, and the phrase “ Zero Budget” means without spending any money on purchased inputs, and credit. “ Natural Farming” promotes the idea of farming in a natural way without chemicals.
- Zero Budget Natural Farming relies on agroecology(an application of ecological concepts and principles of farming). With the right implementation of ZBNF, the cost of production will decrease as well as the quality of foods will enhance.
Introduction of Zero Budget Natural Farming
First, the concept of Zero Budget Natural Farming was introduced by Subash Palekar (Indian Agriculturist and Padma Shri Recipient) in the Mid-1990s.
- Subash Palekar is known as the father of Zero Budget Natural Farming. He developed it as an alternative to the Green Revolution methods.
Subash Palekar put the following points in support of Zero Budget Natural Farming:
- Lakhs of farmers use the Zero Budget Natural Farming in various agro-climatic zones and soil types.
- ZBNF makes farming sustainable and profitable as well.
- There is everything present in nature to grow a plant. No chemicals are required to grow a plant.
- A large number of farmers are already using Zero Budget Natural Farming as a tool that can free them from defaults and debts.
Need for Zero Budget Natural Farming
One of the biggest reasons behind the need for ZBNF was the rising cost of the external inputs causing indebtedness and suicide among the farmers.
- Additionally, the impact of chemicals on the soil is devastating.
- The need for Zero Budget Natural Farming intensified because it promotes farming that doesn’t require high production costs, it can break the debt cycle for the small farmers. Furthermore, it doesn't take a toll on the environment.
- Zero Budget Natural Farming promotes soul aeration, and intercropping, and requires minimal watering, and bunds.
Zero Budget Natural Farming and Farmer’s Income
The best thing about Zero Budget Natural Farming is the cost of production is zero, and farmers don’t have to buy any inputs in order to start this farming.
- Zero Budget Natural Farming only uses 10 percent of the water as compared to the conventional method.
- It also promotes the local Indian breed of the cow for 30 acres of land. It makes it possible for the farmers to earn profits earlier than expected.
- According to Palekar with Zero Budget Natural Farming a farmer can make around 1.5 Lakh INR in non-irrigated areas, and up to 6 lakhs in irrigated areas.
- Zero Budget Natural Farming is suitable for all types of crops. Farmers can get higher yields in the first year only.
- Zero Budget Natural Farming will ease the dept pressure among the farmers because they don’t have to take loans to buy any inputs for farming.
Challenges in Zero Budget Natural Farming
Zero Budget Natural Farming is not accepted in the scientific community. As per the National Academy of Agricultural Science, India can’t rely on the Zero Budget Natural Farming as there is no scientific proof of the methods used in ZBNF.
- Maintaining local cow breed can be difficult. Also, the number of local breed cows is declining at a rapid speed,
- The corps planted by the Zero Budget Natural Farming will face hurdles in organic certification which would result in difficulty in selling products to the organic brands.
- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, which was brought to promote organic farming has been allocated only Rs 325 Crore. When on the other hand the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, a flagship Green Revolution scheme had an allocation of Rs 3,745 crore for the financial year 2019-20.
- Sikkim which is the first organic state has seen some decline in yields.
- Many farmers have returned to conventional farming after the drop in the ZBNF returns in a few years
Four Pillars of ZBNF:
The four pillars of ZBNF are as follows:
- Jeevamrutha- It is prepared by mixing fresh cow dung and aged cow urine ( both from India’s indigenous cow breed), jaggery, water, pulse flour, and soil; to be applied on farmland.
- Bijamrita- a concoction of neem pulp & leaves, green chilies, and tobacco prepared for pest and insect management. It can be used to treat seeds as well.
- Whapasa- a condition where both water and air molecules are present in the soil which reduce the irrigation requirement.
- Acchadana (Mulching)- Protects the topsoil during cultivation and does not destroy it by tilling.
Interesting Facts about Zero Budget Natural Farming
We have noted down some interesting facts about ZBNF
- Jeevamrutha is applied in the ZBNF and it helps in the addition of the nutrients in the soil. Additionally, it enhances the microbial activities in the soil.
- Almost 200 liters of Jeevamrutha is sprayed per acre of land twice a month. After three years soil becomes self-sustaining.
- According to Palekar, an Indian breed cow is enough for covering 30 acres of land.
- Keeping the benefits in mind Andhra Pradesh has decided to become India’s first state to practice 100% natural farming by 2024.
- Intercropping means growing two or more corps next to each other at the same time.
Surveys Supporting ZBNF
The surveys supporting ZBNF are as follows:
- According to the data from the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), almost 70% of agricultural households spend more than they earn.
- The Economic Survey has also highlighted the ecological benefits of Zero Budget Natural Farming.
- The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the united nations) also supports the ZBNF methodologies.
Zero Budget Natural Farming- Present Scenario
Take a look at the present scenario of ZBNF
- The NITI Aayog has been promoting Zero Budget Natural Farming
- ICAR or Indian Council of Agriculture Research is studying the Zero Budget Natural Farming methods practiced by wheat and basmati farmers in various states.
- The funding shortage is also been examined parallels with scientific studies.
Zero Budget Natural Farming- Way Forward
To complement the Zero Budget Natural Farming, other aspects of economic ad structural marketing need to be addressed as well which include:
- Enhancing agricultural market infrastructure
- Price deficiency payment systems for a few corps
- Fixing minimum support prices in accordance with the cultivation cost.
- Changing minimum export price for agricultural commodities
- Increasing the procurement mechanism to all foodgrain and non-food grain crops
Natural Farming vs. Organic Farming
In organic farming, organic manures and fertilizers are used, but in natural farming, there is no use of organic fertilizers or chemical fertilizers.
- Organic farming can be expensive due to the requirements of bulk manures whereas natural farming is an extremely low-cost farming method.
- Organic farming requires basic Agro practices like the mixing of manure, ploughing, tilling, weeding, etc. but in natural farming, there is no use of these methods.
Zero Budget Natural Farming UPSC
Zero Budget Natural Farming as a topic is part of the UPSC Syllabus. This means questions from this will be asked in both UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains exams. Candidates must broaden their knowledge, and strengthen their concepts so that they can answer the questions with ease. That is when our Zero Budget Natural Farming UPSC notes would come in handy. We have covered all the information here on ZBNF which would help you to have an efficient preparation. Apart from the notes candidates need to have the right UPSC Books as well.
Zero Budget Natural Farming UPSC Notes PDF
If you want to make your preparation smoother and easier then you can download the Zero Budget Natural Farming UPSC notes PDF. It would save your time from visiting the site again and again. Additionally, you can highlight the points you think are important.