Saturday, February 7, 2009

Zero Budget Natural Farming for Profit

Farming has been practiced by man from time in memorial. No external inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides were used in early days of agriculture. Till very recently natural ways of farming were practiced all over the world and it could support the food needs of the whole world. Use of chemicals in agriculture is of very recent origin. Their use seems to have a positive effect in enhancing the agriculture production. But on prolonged use, chemical agriculture causes loss of soil fertility, new or resistant pests and disease apart from the harmful residues in food products. The chemical farming has ruined many productive lands at many parts of the world. At this point many experts started thinking about new Sustainable Agriculture Practices. As a result many alternative agriculture systems have been evolved such as Natural Farming, Organic Farming, Bio-Dynamic Farming (BD), Vedic Farming/Vedic Agriculture etc.

But of late, a more appealing sustainable agriculture technique called Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) emerged. Mr. Subash Palekar (India) is the founder of the Zero Budget Farming Movement. He is also known as ‘Krishi ka Rishi’ – meaning ‘Sage/ Seer of Agriculture’. His method has been appreciated by Mr. Masanobu Fukuoka – the Japanese agriculturalist and philosopher who pioneered the concept of “natural farming”.

Subhash Palekar’s Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) is a unique method of farming which requires absolutely no monetary investment for purchase of key inputs like fertilizers and plant protection chemicals from the market. In this method the farmer grows hardy local varieties of crops without application of fertilizers and pesticides. All that the system requires is native breed (‘desi’) of cattle which used to be an integral part of farming families in rural areas. It is claimed that one cow is sufficient to take up this method of farming on thirty acres of land. According to Mr. Palekar, “Ten kg of cow dung is required for an acre a month. A ‘desi’ cow can give 11 kg of dung a day. Hence 30 acres can be cultivated. Almost any plant needs 98.5 per cent carbon dioxide to grow. Solar energy and water is needed to cultivate it. Only the remaining is needed from the soil. It is false when people say that manure is the basic food material for a crop”. So in short “just a cow can raise crop on 30 acres of land”.

The Zero Budget Natural Farming involves use of special preparations of ‘desi’ cow dung and ‘desi’ cow urine in farming to promote biological activity in the soil and also for plant protection from different pests and diseases.

According to Mr. Palekar, ONLY native breed (‘desi’) of cow’s dung and urine has the desired level of microbial load which in turn can boost the biological activity in the soil. ZBNF system also involves natural ways of Plant Protection, Mulching, Mixed Cropping and Crop Rotation. It is claimed that only zero budget farming, which was being followed by nearly 24 Lakh farmers in various states in India, can ensure increased food production. Many followers of this system are coming up with success stories from their fields, by way of increased production, large sized and tasty products than that from the conventional agricultural fields. It is proving to be very profitable method also. Its most remarkable feature is that virtually there is no investment is involved for practicing this farming method. Zero Budget Natural Farming also ensures production of ‘Safe-to-Eat’ food products as no chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides are used. Thus Zero Budget Natural Farming is considered to be an answer to the present day issues of Food Security and Food Safety, which has been highlighted by FAO in their report ‘The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2008’.

If you are interested to adopt or get to know more about Zero Budget Natural Farming, please contact us with details at the e-mail ID given below.

Also, please send in your valued comments and suggestions.