Originally promoted by Subhash Palekar in mid 1990s as an alternative to GR methods.

  1. According to NSSO data ~ 70% of Agriculture households spend more than they earn and more than half of farmers are indebted because of rising cost of external inputs. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, ~ 90% are indebted.
  2. Impact of chemicals on Environment & long term fertility is devastating.
  3. Implementation
    1. According to Eco Survey > 1.6 lakh farmers are practicing ZBNF in ~ 1000 villages using some form of State support.
    2. Karnataka was the pioneer > AP planned to become India’s 1st State to practice 100% NF by 2024 > HP, CG, KL, UK.
  4. Limitations
    1. A 2017 study in AP claimed a sharp decline in input costs and improvement in yields. Infact many farmers in Maharashtra have reverted back to conventional farming after seeing ZBNF returns drop.
    2. No separate funding mechanism in Budget to promote it. The revised funds for RKVY RAFTAAR & Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana are used by States to promote ZBNF, Vedic farming, natural farming etc.

Zero-budget natural farming (ZBNF), popularised by Maharashtrian agriculturist and Padma Shri recipient Subhash Palekar, refers to the process of raising crops without using chemical fertilisers and pesticides or any other external materials. Instead, farmers use low-cost locally-sourced natural concoctions, inoculums and decoctions based on cow dung, cow urine, jaggery, lilac, green chillies and many other such natural ingredients.

Recently in these two years (2018-19, 2019-20) there is wide spread discussions and debates going on about Zero budget Natural (Spiritual) Farming throughout India and abroad, especially in the agricultural universities, in Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), in Non-Government Agencies (NGO’s), in all Governments, in variable social and spiritual organizations.

Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)

When I have taken the review of entire practicing farmers, I found that, thousands of farmers are taking Paddy crop in wet land under Zero Budget Natural farming. They are filling continuous water in the paddy crop. So, they cannot sow the seed of intercrops in the standing water. In coastal India, there is continuous raining in rainy season and entire paddy field is sunken in rainwater. So, Zero Budget Natural Farmers cannot take intercrops in wet land paddy. But, they are having the cost of production. Because they are committed to hire the labours from outside

for transplanting the paddy seedlings and for harvesting. Also, they have to give the electricity and irrigation water bill. So, there is definite cost of production, no doubt. If they cannot take the intercrop in wet paddy crop, then how we can claim that it is zero budgets? Because, they cannot compensate cost of production through the intercrops, as there is no intercrop present.  Under Zero Budget Natural Farming, thousands of orchard growers have dense old plantation of Mango, Orange, Sweet Orange, Guava, Sapota (Chiku), Lemon, Cashew nut, so due to dense canopy the sunlight cannot enter down to the soil, because of having dense shadow. In this dense shadow, they cannot take intercrops. But they have cost of production for harvesting and other related work, electricity bill, irrigation water bill and labour charges. So, Zero Budget is not possible. 

During this social media debate, there was one parallel series of incidents continued in the nation. It is very essential to discuss about this important incident. In India, there are so many farmers associations, social organizations, spiritual organizations, some non-government organizations (NGO’s) and so many individuals, all these organizations are leading part of promoting indigenous traditional cow dung based farming means Go aadharit Kheti, organic farming, cow based farming, chemical free farming, sustainable agriculture, nanak kheti, sajiv farming, veda’s farming and yogic farming. Organic farming is 100% foreign technology; it is not Indian swadeshi technique. But, so many NGO, social organizations, one farmer’s organization and some spiritual organizations also were promoting this foreign videshi organic farming, as a swadeshi Indian technology. It is 100% theft. How anybody can claim that it is spiritual and social?  But, now all these organizations, NGO’s and farmers organization came to know that, which organic technology they are promoting to the farmers, but farmers are not accepting, they are rejecting all these alternative farming technologies. Because they are not getting the result, production is reduced, cost of production is too much high than chemical farming, also are not practical, are laborious. So, some of these all organizations, NGO’s and farmers organization have started to use my Zero Budget Natural Farming methodology as a competent alternative in the place of all practicing organic farming, traditional farming, Veda farming, yogic farming and other farming technologies.

There are two parts of this new name- 1) Natural Farming and 2) Spiritual Farming. Why? I have clarified previously that Nature is the creation of God, not the creation of human. That means, nature is the constitution of God, so I say nature is the god, the visible formal live countenance of God. That means, which is natural, that becomes automatically spiritual. Which is existed in the nature, it is natural, so is spiritual. But, our so many friends did not come to know this reality. Those, who deny the existence of God, those atheists and those who accept the existence of God, those spiritual friends, both are hearty welcomed in our mass movement. 

The term ‘Zero Budget’ means the zero cost of production of all crops. ZBNF guides the farmers in practising sustainable farming that helps in retaining soil fertility to ensure chemical-free agriculture and ensure low cost of production (zero-cost).

This climate-resilient agricultural method, which is different from organic farming, aims at promoting agroecology and adopting low-cost agriculture practice wherein all critical inputs are gathered from the field and nothing is introduced from outside. Under ZBNF, neither fertiliser nor pesticide is used and only 10 per cent of water is to be utilised for irrigation as compared to traditional farming techniques.

Farmers’ income

The basic concept of ZBNF is to ensure that profit from supplementary crops is enough to cover the cost of production of the main crop and it has the potential to enhance the income or profit margins for farmers who are often under distress owing to debt.

Four principles of ZBNF

Jeevamrutha: A composition of cow dung and cow urine, jaggery, pulse flour, water and soil is applied on the farmland

Bijamrita: It is a mixture of neem leaves and pulp, tobacco and green chillies prepared for insect and pest management, that can be used to treat seeds

Acchadana (Mulching): It protects topsoil during cultivation and does not destroy it by tilling

Whapasa: It is the condition where there are both air molecules and water molecules present in the soil. Thereby, providing water to maintain the required moisture-air balance

Government initiatives

The government of India promotes promoting organic farming through the schemes of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) since 2015-16 and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).

Under the PKVY scheme, several organic farming methods like zero budget natural farming (ZBNF), natural farming, vedic farming, rishi farming, cow farming, homa farming, etc. are included wherein states adopt any model of organic farming including ZBNF depending on the farmer’s choice.

According to the RKVY scheme, organic farming or natural farming model components are considered by the respective State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC).

Government is promoting and supporting organic farming and zero budget natural farming under various schemes, detailed below:

  • DARE/ICAR through its Plan Scheme ‘Network Project on Organic Farming (NPOF)’ is undertaking research in 20 centres covering 16 states to develop location specific organic farming package of practices for crops and cropping systems.
  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), a sub-component of Soil Health Management (SHM) scheme under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), promotes cluster based organic farming with Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) certification. Cluster formation, training, certification and marketing are supported under the scheme. Assistance of Rs. 50,000 per ha for 3 years is provided, out of which 62% i.e., Rs. 31,000 is given as incentive to a farmer towards use of organic inputs.
  • The Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER), promotes 3rd party certified organic farming of niche crops of north east region through Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) with focus on exports. Farmers are given assistance of Rs 25000/ha for 3 years for organic inputs including organic manure and bio-fertilisers etc. Support for formation of FPOs, capacity building, post-harvest infrastructure up to Rs 2 crores are also provided under the scheme.
  • 100% assistance is provided to State Governments/ Government agencies through Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS) under Soil Health Management Scheme for setting up of mechanized fruit/ vegetable market place, waste/ agro-waste compost production unit to the extent of Rs.190.00 Lakh /unit (capacity of 3000 t/annum of finished compost). Similarly, for individuals/ private agencies, assistance up to 33% of cost limit to Rs 63 lakh/unit as capital investment is provided for the purpose.
  • Under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, financing facility is provided to State agencies, Primary Agricultural Credit Societies, Farmer Producer Organisations, entrepreneurs etc. for setting up of organic input production units, community farming assets and post-harvest infrastructure for value addition to organic produce.
  • The farmers are encouraged to use organic inputs by providing financial assistance through number of other schemes. For example, under the National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP) and National Food Security Mission (NFSM), the financial assistance @ 50% subsidy to the tune of Rs. 300/- per ha is provided for use of organic inputs.

One gram of GOMAYA, that is, Gaia’s dung contains about 3000 to 5000 million beneficial microbes. Gaia’s dung is to be use as fresh as possible and the urine as old as possible. Medical Elements like Nitrogen(N7), Potassium, Copper, Molybdenum, Borax, Cobalt Sulphate, Phosphorus, Irons, Manganese, Boron, Sodium is inheriting in Gomaya as all Bharatiya Govansh are descendants of divine Kamadhenu Gaia. 

In fact, many of the farmers are save from committing suicide as they are able to pay their loan with huge harvest from organic (Gaia’s dung & urine) farming. Thanks for the growing Awareness among Indian Farmers and the efforts of “Subhash Palekar “. There are many Indian Farmers who Are practicing Zero-based farming from Gaia’s dung (GOMAYA) and Gaia’s urine (GOMUTRA) and keeping Gaia’s BULL (Nandi)  for their land Ploughing. 

Arun Kumar

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture & Technology,
Meerut 250110 (India)

Corresponding Author: [email protected]