Panel constituted to study zero budget natural farming method

NEW DELHI:The Agriculture Ministry is moving forward on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget proposal of zero budget natural farming (ZBNF) — a farming technique with zero expenditure on chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

Panel constituted to study zero budget natural farming method

Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 13

The Agriculture Ministry is moving forward on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget proposal of zero budget natural farming (ZBNF) — a farming technique with zero expenditure on chemical fertilisers and pesticides. While a committee has been constituted to research and meet farmers practising the technique on the ground, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has also initiated a multi-location testing to confirm its scientific efficacy. 

“By analysing its principles and applying them on the field, we will be able to evolve ideas and appropriate knowledge on the issue. Scientists will assess how the technique works on various crops and situations. For scientific evidence, we will be testing it in our own experimental fields as well as in farmers’ land,” senior officials say.

Sitaharaman’s proposal has initiated a debate with many experts claiming that since it has not been tested on a wider scale, its applicability on different soil types and agro-climate zones was doubtful. According to its supporters, going back to the basics, as suggested by the FM, was the only way to prevent farmer suicides, arrest rural migration and address environmental issues related to climate change and global warming.

In her Budget speech, Sitharaman pitched for adoption of zero-budget farming to double farmers’ income and arrest distress. Largely, the technique revolves around farmers using natural and organic material  to increase biological activity, fertility and soil quality.  Terming it an untested method, detractors say the technique has to be first verified on a wider scale and that without the backing of scientific evidence, it could deepen the agrarian crisis. 

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