- During Budget 2019-20,Finance Minister has called for promoting zero budget natural farming(ZBNF) as a step towards doubling farmers income.
- Zero Budget means without using any credit and without spending any money on purchased inputs.‘Natural farming’ means farming with Nature and without the use of fertilisers.
- Zero budget farming is a set of farming methods that involve zero credit for agriculture and no use of chemical fertilisers.
- ZBF reduces farmers costs through eliminating external inputs and using in-situ resources to rejuvenate soils while simultaneously increasing incomes and restoring ecosystem health through diverse,multi-layered cropping systems.
- The ZBNF method also promotes soil aeration, minimal watering, intercropping,topsoil mulching and discourages intensive irrigation and deep ploughing.
- ZBF also promises to end a reliance on loans and drastically cut production costs ending the debt cycle and in fact move towards doubling farmers income by 2022.
- A limited 2017 study in Andhra Pradesh on ZBF has claimed a sharp decline in input costs and improvement in yields.
- However,reports also suggest that many farmers including Maharashtra have reverted to conventional farming after seeing their ZBNF returns drop after a few years,in turn raising doubts about the method’s efficacy in increasing farmers incomes.
- Further,experts within the Central policy and planning think tank NITI Aayog has noted that India needed the Green Revolution in order to become self-sufficient and ensure food security.They warn against a wholesale move away from that model without sufficient proof that yields will not be affected.
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