11 Jul 2020
- Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) is a set of farming methods, and also a grassroots peasant movement, which has spread to various states in India.
- The word ‘budget’, here, refers to credit and expenses, thus the phrase ‘Zero Budget’ means without using any credit, and without spending any money on purchased inputs. Privatized seeds, inputs, and inaccessible markets and expensive for peasants. Indian farmers increasingly find themselves in a vicious cycle of debt, because of the high production costs, high interest rates for credit, the volatile market prices of crops, the rising costs of fossil fuel based inputs, and private seeds.
- ‘Natural farming’ means farming with Nature and without chemicals. That is, it is a system where the laws of nature are applied to agricultural practices. This method works along with the natural biodiversity of each farmed area, encouraging the complexity of living organisms, both plants, and animals that shape each particular ecosystem to thrive along with food plants.
Features of Zero Budget Natural Farming:
- Commercial level farming can be done in almost zero budget only by using locally available and farm-based resources.
- According to ZBNF principles, plants get 98% of their supply of nutrients from the air, water, and sunlight. And the remaining 2% can be fulfilled by good quality soil with plenty of friendly microorganisms.
- The soil is always supposed to be covered with organic mulch, which creates humus and encourages the growth of friendly microorganisms.
- The system requires cow dung and cow urine obtained from Indian breed cows only. Desi cow is apparently the purest as far as the microbial content of cow dung, and urine goes.
- A farm made bio-culture named ‘Jeevamrutha’ is added to the soil instead of any fertilizers to improve microflora of soil. Jeevamrutha is derived from very little cow dung and cow urine of desi cow breed.
- Natural, farm-made pesticides like Dashparni ark and Neem Astra are used to control pests and diseases. Weeds are considered essential and used as living or dead mulch layer
- In ZBNF, multi-cropping is encouraged over single crop method.