UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)
Recently, it was announced by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh that the State would fully embrace Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), a chemical-free method that would cover all farmers by 2024.
- Natural farming is “do nothing farming”, no-till, no chemical use farming. It is use of locally available materials: seeds treated with cow dung and urine; soil rejuvenated with cow dung, cow urine and other local materials to increase microbes; cover crops, straw and other organic matter to retain soil moisture and build humus; and soil aeration for favorable soil conditions. These methods along with combined use of natural insect management methods when required.
- The word Zero Budget refers to the zero net cost of production of all crops (inter crops, border crops, multi crops).
How would Zero Budget Natural Farming help?
- ZBNF, yields of various cash and food crops have been found to be significantly higher when compared with chemical farming
- Model ZBNF farms were able to withstand drought and flooding, which are big concerns with regard to climate change.
- There is reduced use of water and electricity, improved health of farmers, flourishing of local ecosystems and biodiversity and no toxic chemical residues in the environment.
- Overall ZBNF has helped in ensuring the welfare of farmers, reduce the cost of farm inputs, cut out toxins in food and improve the soil.
What can be done to sustain the Program?
- Farmer-to-farmer connections are vital to the success of ZBNF.
- The role of the Agriculture Department is to listen to farmers, motivate and assist them in different ways.
- Farmer’s collectives such as Farmer Producer Organisations need to be established and these would be critical in sustaining the programme.
- The Government of India also provides funding through the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana. Additional resources should be made available through various philanthropic organisations.
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