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Jul 032018

Zero Budget Natural Farming [History, Father, Method, Climate , Benefits and Drawbacks]

Zero budget natural farming, as the name proposes, is well known (at least now) farming process in India with ZERO COST of cultivating and yielding the crops.”Without combining any foreign elements, pesticides and fertilizers, innate production of crops” is a key fundamental of the existence of ZBNF method. And, here’s how a farmer can expect of Rs. 6 Lakh per annum with just one acre of land.For a while, your thinking must be stuck with “How is it contrasting from organic farming then?” Will unveil brief description about this in next topic (keep reading).

Zero Budget Natural Farming

State Name

After Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh (AP), Himachal Pradesh (HP) is the latest state to launch Zero Budget Natural Farming in last week of January 2018.

To be precise, on 30th January 2018, Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) project to bolster organic farming was launched by Jai Ram Thakur, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.

From the time when Zero Budget Natural Farming took birth in India to now, more than 100,000 farmer families are involved in the process, a rough estimation suggests.

And, ZBNF heads believe if implemented throughout the nation, this figure will no doubt touch millions. During 2016-17, food grain production was 275.68 million tonnes and during 2017-18 crop year is expected to reach a record 277.49 million tonnes, indeed a better valuation.

History of ZBNF – Crucial Role Of Mr SubhashPalekar

Padmashree Awardee and 2nd February 1949 born, Subash Palekar is the man behind Zero Budget Natural Farming Method. His bachelor of science in agriculture, field visits, workshops, lectures and seminars have benefitted more than 4 million farmers across the nation. Karnataka was the first state in India to have been blessed with his teachings.

From 1986 to 1995, was the Palekar’s achievements and life’s peak research and experimentation time. As an in-depth study of forest vegetation was an origin of Palekar’s curiosity for natural farming techniques from 1986 to 1988. And, implementation of outcomes of verified distinct techniques took him six years from 1989 to 1995.

Besides, the support provided by Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana Schemes and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana of Government of India, Chairman of Wipro Limited, Indian business tycoon, investor, and philanthropist, Azim Premji has also nodded to provide initial support in Andhra Pradesh ZBNF project. Simply, zero budget natural farming is a well-researched and beneficial replacement of the use of pesticides and fertilizers.

Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP), poverty reduction autonomous institution by Government of Andhra Pradesh was equally involved in promoting Zero Budget Natural Farming. Besides, Andhra Pradesh State Government is aiming for 100% chemical free agriculture by 2024. Even UN in its report affirmed that first-time certain farming practice is implemented on such a large scale.

After the green revolution, utilisation of chemicals in the farming process became a MUST step. Since ZBNF is Zero Budget Natural Farming, thus, neither any chemical nor Genetically Modified (GM) seeds are used in this excellent process.

While many reports recall ZBNF as “DO NOTHING FARMING”. Here, do nothing refers to exclusion of chemicals in whole harvesting procedure. Farmers will have to work equally hard, but with smart techniques and support of natural resources.

What kind of climate is required for natural farming?

The planet’s climate is changing, this is undeniable. Climate change presents a critical challenge for global food security.

Then men and women who produce our foods – farmers, herders and fishers are hit the hardest by consequences of climate change. 

Farmer committees need to build their resilience and ability to adapt to changing the climate in a way that they can feed a growing population without further depleting our precious reserves of soil and water.

Similar is the case with ZBNF. Natural rainwater is a blessing to the crops, irrespective of what seeds you’ve sown. Since an excess of everything is bad. Thus, excess rainwater and flood like situations most of the times becomes sole reasons for farmers committing suicide.

In turn, Zero budget natural farming will save our planet earth as well. With least emission of greenhouse gases. Besides, lessen the use of chemical fertilizers in the soil, better the climate system remains, with strong root upholding of plants.

Method of Natural Farming – Here’s What To Do!

Ingredients required before moving onto ZBNF are termed as Basic Tool Kit. And, Mr Palekar has also written a book (for extensive help) on this topic. There are four pillars of successful implementation of zero budget natural farming. 

First being Jivamrita/Jeevamrutha, In this, cow dung and cow urine (older the better) besides a handful of static soil is added to the preparation.

Three major advantages of Jivamrita in ZBNF procedure are – it provides nutrients, it acts as a catalytic agent, it helps to prevent fungal and bacterial plant diseases. Once successfully prepared, Jivamrita should be used only twice a month in irrigation water to the crops.

The second pedestal being Bijamrita/beejamrutha is something that acts with the fundamental i.e. seeds. 

The enormous complication to farmers in post-monsoon period is destroying of young roots from seed-borne and soil-borne diseased besides fungus.

And, once you’ve coated seeds of any crops, mix by hands and dry them well, you can give yourself a high five, as your crops are totally safe now. Note: dipping quickly and letting them dry is an exceptional application as a seed treatment only for leguminous seeds (plants of the pea family).

In short, a third and fourth pedestal of ZBNF incorporates Whapasa – Moisture and Acchadana – Mulching. While latter includes three varieties of mulching eg. Live Mulch, Straw Mulch and Soil Mulch, according to Palekar. 

And, his Whapasa theory (third pedestal) has been a contradiction to most followed and renowned ‘Irrigation rules of green revolution farming’. Because Palekar has denied accepting the fact that plant roots need a lot of water. Thus, encouraging irrigation only at noon, and amazingly, this reduced irrigation technique has been proved successful, reports farmers working as per zero budget natural farming guidelines.

Why is it called zero farming – Learn the Lesson

The name itself initiates with the word ‘ZERO’. And, reason being, almost null investment in complete ZBNF farming procedure. With no involvement of hybrid seeds, chemical fertilizers, large-scale lands (may be rented), paid external labours etc. a farmer following best practices of ZBNF methods can save more than he/ she can ever dream of.

Although it took almost complete life duration, dedication and hard work of Mr Subhash Palekar. And also, not so large amount of money of state government at the time of initial testing (pilot programmes). yet it is proved boon for nature cum farmers in the end.

The day is not far when all states and union territories of the nation will undoubtedly use ZBNF process and will make India a hybrid seeds and fertilizers free nation.

Benefits of ZBNF – A Definitive Guide

  • Reduction in farmers’ investment, not their production. Thus, keeping the Return on Investment same.
  • Protection of soil from degradation. Thus, keeping their lands fertile.
  • 98 to 98.50% nutrients are taken from the air, water and solar energy. And, remaining 1.5% taken from the soil. Thus, keeping complete ZBNF procedure free of cost.
  • To raise net income, implementation of multi-crop harvesting methods.
  • Least possible consumption of water and electricity with only one native cow resources capable of implementing zero budget natural farming process upto 30 acres of land.
  • Non-toxic production with least possible investment in external labour requirement.
  • An increase of warmth and darkness in soil due to soil mulching. Thus, making it easily ploughable that can be dug with hands even.
  • Not only specific, but suitability for successful implementation of ZBNF process is possessed by all Indian cow breeds. As 300 to 500 crores of beneficial effective microbes are found in one gram dung of desi cow.
  • Zero use of hybrid seeds. Thus, saving not so rich farmers from the double investment. How? Everyone and their dads know hybrid seeds yields double crop, but only when chemicals are added to it. Thus, it is a conspiracy of multinational companies to sell their products. Thus, in the greed of maximum ROI, farmers used to opt hybrid seeds but now the scenario is changing with more and more implementation of zero budget natural farming.

Drawbacks of ZBNF – Complete Details

Zero Budget Natural Farming has been one of the most advantageous and successful farming techniques of all times.

So useful that finding disadvantages of this technique is a challenge in itself. To be precise, because of more heightened and denser plants and better variety of crops yielded, Harvesting in the only disadvantage of ZBNF method.

And having the right set of harvesting machinery (according to season) would be a challenge. Automation and Technology could help though.

Natural Farming vs. Chemical Farming vs. Organic Farming (Ultimate Sheet)

Chemical Farming vs. ZBNF: In a push to possess a maximum export business of agriculture industry, permitting chemical companies to supply fertilizers to our farmers was one of the largest disadvantages of Green Revolution.

This baseless belief that ‘fertilizers and chemicals are needed to make the land useful as initially it is infertile’ is a contradiction to how ancient Indians and our ancestors made themselves super successful in farming activities without chemicals.

When Mr Palekar discussed with agricultural scientists the most important question related to farming on the planet i.e. “With the increasing use of various chemical fertilizers in the farming process from sowing the seeds to reaping the crops, has the annual production and soil fertility improved?”

And, you’ll be shocked to know that no chemical in the word has been proved successful in increasing land fertility and yield, says agricultural scientists. Thus, least benefits to farmers.

Need practical proof?

Here it is – ever visited forests? Trees grow in the forests without any cultivation, fertilizers, insecticides and irrigation, said Mr Palekar in a press release with Times of India.

Organic Farming vs. ZBNF: The worst part?

Organic farming is four to five times costlier than chemical farming.

Garbage Enzyme, M-Solution, Bio-Dynamics, Vermi-Composting and Composting being five inputs in Organics farming makes you spend more than you can think of.


Because farmers need more workers. Thus, indirectly decreasing the Rate on Investment (ROI) or increasing the production rate.

Outcomes of organic farming i.e. organic food are being produced on smaller amounts. Thus, disturbing marketing, management and distribution.Lack of required management leads to food illnesses/ poisoning more often than average.These disadvantages creating large enough limitation that ‘World’s Population Cannot Be Feed With Organic Farming’.

Another most beneficial part where Zero Budget Natural Farming method can stand alone against both Chemical Farming and Organic Farming is the emission of Carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons i.e. greenhouse gas. Besides all the important reasons you may have heard from Indian Social Activist, who skyrocketed AzadiBachaoAndolan and handled position of National Secretary of Bharat Swabhiman, Rajiv Dixit also.

In case of Organic and Chemical Farming, emission of greenhouse gas is quite higher. Whereas, for ZBNF Farming method, its greenhouse gas emission is zero like the cost.

The requirement of land, which is the very first demand of agriculture industry.Although, more the better, yet ZBNF can be started with just half an acre of land.

Final Words: 

The method has only been proved useful to lakhs of farmers of Andhra Pradesh, only when State Government played a productive role. To test the techniques, pilot programmes were used to test this technique in a small land.

As a result of ZBNF policy implementation, two important targets achieved are – 5 lakh farmers have adopted this technique with at least one Panchayat in each of the Coverage mandals. State Government has also expressed its will to make Andhra Pradesh fully chemical-free state by 2024 and every panchayat covered with Zero Budget Natural Farming program.

If the growth of ZBNF farming increases at this rate, Palekar’s techniques on Zero Budget Natural Farming will undoubtedly make an all-time historical impact on farming in India. Maybe, more effective than what green revolution did.

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