A recent study found that Zero-budget natural farming brought big gains for Andhra farmers.
Core Principles of ZBNF
Microbial seed coatingthrough cow urine and dung based formulations.
Enhance soil microbiome through application of cow dung, cow urine and other local ingredients.
COVER CROPS and MULCHING
Ground to be kept covered with crops and also crop residues.
Fast build up of soil humus through ZBNF leads soil aeration.
About the News
Findings were part of a study that compared ZBNF and non-ZBNF techniques in crops like paddy, groundnut etc. It compared 6 parameters: Water, electricity, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, yield and net revenue.
ZBNF provided saving of water per acre per paddy cropping period.
Electricity consumption of farms relying on groundwater reduced.
ZBNF hindered microbial activity and cut methane emissions by 88%.
Study did not observe much impact on crop yield.
ZBNF is a method of chemical-free agriculture drawing from traditional Indian practices. It was originally promoted by Maharashtrian agriculturist Subhash Palekar. ZBNF was introduced in Union Budget 2019-20.
The ZBNF method also promotes soil aeration, minimal watering, intercropping, bunds and topsoil mulching and discourages intensive irrigation and deep ploughing.
Mr. Palekar is against vermicomposting, which is the mainstay of typical organic farming, as it introduces the most common composting worm, the European red wiggler to Indian soils. He claims these worms absorb toxic metals and poison groundwater and soil.
ZBNF is based on 4 pillars (refer infographic).
Benefits of ZBNF
Requires very less amount of water and electricity than what is required under chemical farming, reduces farming costs by using in-situ resources, manage soil nutrition, fertility, pests and seeds.