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In many states, farmers are in huge debt due to rising agriculture costs of seeds, farm inputs and inaccessible markets. The high-interest rates for credit or loans that the farmers take from the easiest available lender made farming unviable. Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) is rooted in Indian tradition and a holistic alternative to the present scenario of high-cost chemical inputs-based agriculture. It is very effective in addressing the uncertainties of climate change.

Written by Sameer Mohapatro. M.Sc.- Agriculture  (2nd Year)

Introduction

The population of India comes in the 2nd position in the world. The 1st green revolutionary ideas have saved millions of Indians by providing sufficient amount of food everyday to meet their required amount of nutrients. But the increasing population and food demands has put a lot of pressure on the “food producing resources”. The soil quality, environment quality, food quality is slowly degrading with the farming principles of green revolution of 1960’s. And surveys continuously reports that by 2050, 60 per cent of India’s population will experience severe deficiencies in calories, digestible protein and fat as many scientists have claimed through many researches. These changes in agriculture has risen an alarm in the farmer’s mind to change these old age practices and develop some new techniques and adopt it so that there occurs no danger with the agricultural resources in the future of agriculture. This alertness has given rise to the development of a new farming system called as “ZERO BUDGET NATURAL FARMING “.

In many states, farmers are in huge debt due to rising agriculture costs of seeds, farm inputs and inaccessible markets. The high-interest rates for credit or loans that the farmers take from the easiest available lender made farming unviable. Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) is rooted in Indian tradition and a holistic alternative to the present scenario of high-cost chemical inputs-based agriculture. It is very effective in addressing the uncertainties of climate change. ZBNF principles satisfy the principles of Agro – ecology. Zero budget natural farming started as a grassroots movement, aiming to provide multiple benefits, both to the environment and to farmers. The inputs used for seed treatments and other inoculations are locally available in the form of cow dung and cow urine. At the same time, ZBNF crops helps in retaining soil fertility and is climate change resilient. Farming is done in sync with the nature not through chemical fertilizers.

Principles of Zero Budget Natural Farming

ZBNF also has some principles which have to be followed by any farmer who adopts this farming. ZBNF emphasizes on the use of natural or organic inputs into the field. The main components of ZBNF are “Bijamitra “, “Jeevamrita “, “Waaphasa” and “Mulching “. These terms explain the procedures and advantages related to zero budget natural farming. “Bijamitra’ means treating of the seeds with cow dung and cow urine, “Jeevamitra” means application of inoculation made by cow dung and cow urine.

“Mulching “and “waaphasa” are managing of soil.  These principles are regarded to be acting in enriching the soil quality and providing the plants a better environment and adequate amount of nutrients to grow properly and produce a better yield as expected. It is expected that following these principles of ZBNF, a farmer can get his expected yield of crops.

Conclusion

Zero budget farming is very useful in reducing the cost of cultivation of crops but when seen on a larger scale it cannot be enough to balance the food requirements of population of India in the future. Farmers with small land holdings may not get enough success or output from ZBNF. Our agriculture system has completely been dependent on the usage of fertilizers as the economy of agriculture is what being focused by the farmer to feed his family and fulfill its requirement. ZBNF is a slow process of gaining yield and it requires utter patience of the farmer for obtaining the desired yield. ZBNF can enhance the fertility of soil very quickly but it may not increase the nutrient content and cannot maintain the all time requirement capacity of essential nutrients for the plants.

Photo: https://solitude.farm/farm/

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