Gist of Editorials: Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) | GS – III

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.