Zero Budget Natural Farming
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that her government will promote Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) to reduce cost of production of farmers and thereby double their income. Subhah Palekar, who coined the word ZBNF, has been asked by 6 state governments to train their farmers on his techniques. However, in his home state of Maharashtra, a considerable number of followers have returned to practicing chemical farming as they failed to improve their incomes with ZBNF. Speaking to ET from remote parts of Himachal Pradesh, Subhash Palekar said, "During the first term of the Modi government, when they realised that the Agricultural Universities could not offer any solution to double the income of farmers, NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar had approached me after to know about ZBNF.
"Chemical farming did not give farmers any income. Organic farming is also expensive. Both chemical and organic farming lead to global warming as they release green house gases on large scale," said Palekar, who claimed that he trains the farmers for 25 days of the month without taking any honorarium for it.
Palekar said that about 50 lakh farmers have started practicing his method of farming. He was conferred with Padmshree by the Government of India in 2016. Presently, Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Kerala and Kanataka governments have asked hims to train their farmers in ZBNF.
He proposes use of cow dung and and urine of only one indigenous cow for 30 acre farm, treating of seeds with Agniastra, Brahmastra and Neemastra made using natural ingredients on the farm by the farmer himself. "Or
Mohan Khot from Hupari village of Kolhapur district was attracted toward the concept of ZBNF about three years ago. "We had invited Palekar to our village to teach us ZBNF. About 15 of us tried his method on various crops like sugarcane and banana as the idea of incurring no production cost was attractive,However, after trying it for a year, the group fell back to practicing chemical farming. "Our production declined substantially. Also, we could not get better rate for the natural jaggery we had prepared from natural sugarcane."
Another farmer who did not wish to be identified said, "If we want to treat agriculture like a business, we have to understand that we cannot get income without any investment. If the idea of doubling of farmer's income is to be satisfied by raising his income.
By BOA Bureau