Relevance : GS Paper III
Finance Minister put thrust on zero budget farming in her Budget speech.
What is Zero budget natural farming (ZBNF)?
- ZBNF is a method of chemical-free agriculture.
- It promotes the application of jeevamrutha — a mixture of cow dung, cow urine, jaggery, pulse flour, water and soil — on farmland.
- A similar mixture, called bijamrita, is used to treat seeds and insect and pest management.
- ZBNF is against vermicomposting.
What are the benefits of ZBNF ?
- It will protect environment and fertility.
- Cost of production could be drastically reduced.
- It promotes soil aeration, minimal watering, intercropping, etc.
Why does ZBNF matter?
- There is a high level of indebtedness of farm households.
- Central government’s promise to double farmers income by 2022.
Is ZBNF effective ?
- Sharp decline in input costs and improvement in yields have been found.
- However, ZBNF returns drop after a few years.
- Sikkim has seen decline in yields due to organic farming.
Promotion of ZBNF
- No new funding announced to promote it.
- RKVY-RAFTAAR scheme and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana allow States to use their funds to promote the ZBNF.
What lies ahead?
- NITI Aayog has been a promoter of the ZBNF method.
- Multi-location studies are needed to validate the long-term impact and viability.
- Indian Council of Agricultural Research is studying the ZBNF methods practised by farmers in several states.
- An institutional mechanism could be set up to promote this technology.