A Way Toward: Zero Budget Natural Farming

Zero Budget
Zero Budget

Currently, traditional farming is promoted with a view to obtain zero budget natural farming system. Here in this article, we have discussed about the concept of Zero Budget Natural Farming. Components associated with the development of this system are also discussed. Zero Budget Natural farming has so many advantages which are also presented in this article.

Keeping in view, this many advantages associated with the system, the government has shown interest in promoting this platform widely at every possible corner. Different aspects of this farming system have been presented in this paper.

What is Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)

As name itself includes Zero Budget that is zero credit and no expenditure on inputs in the production system. It is a kind of natural farming, which means farming in nature without the use of any chemicals. Hence it is a method of chemical-free agriculture system based on conventional farming practices. Chemical-free agricultural practices are promoted. This practice is transition from application of chemical nutrients to alternative natural inputs. This method provides platform to eliminate the need for expensive fertilizers and pesticides and thus preventing degradation of soil and also conserving water resources and thereby ultimately reduces the input cost of production. Our traditional cultural practices can be utilized in best possible way toward chemical-free agriculture system. This innovative model relies on the model of agro-ecology (Khadse et al., 2019). More-ever, it also provides a better platform to move toward sustainable agriculture (Tripathi et al., 2018).

Founder of the system

 This practice was originally introduced by agriculturist Padma Shri recipient Subhash Palekar in mid 1990s. He promoted it as an alternative to green revolution method. He claimed that the major reason behind indebtedness and suicides among farmers in our country is cost of external inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers, thus by implementing traditional methods cost of input will be reduced.

Components of ZBNF

According to the founder of this innovative model, natural farming system is based on four pillars (Fig.1):

  1. Bijamitra (Seed treatment),

  2. Jiwamitra (No fertilizers, No pesticides,

  3. Mulching (Soil, straw),

  4. Waaphasa (Soil moisture).

First component is based on treatment of seed naturally which will help in preventing seed borne disease in crop plants. Second, component relies on exclusion of use of fertilizer and pesticides in agriculture system. Third component based on mulching which protection of soil conservation and fourth component is conservation of soil moisture and hence enhancing water use efficiency of crop plant.

This farming system is based on technique of natural faming incurring minimum expenses, thus all those techniques of natural faming forms the components of ZBNF. This farming is one of the models of organic farming, as emphasis is given on exclusion of all artificial chemical inputs and thus promotes organic farming.

Why we need it

Our agricultural system is more occupied with small scale farmers, for whom privatized seeds, inputs and markets are expensive and inaccessible. Because of such high production cost, high interest rate loans, Indian farmers come under cruel cycle of debt. Hence this ZBNF, which means zero investment and zero expenditure on agricultural production inputs, will be boon to farmers. Repeated use of chemicals makes land unfit for farming. Here in this model eco-friendly and sustainable approaches are promoted (Devarinti, 2016). Hence dependence on eco-friendly and sustainable approaches in agricultural production system will also help us in fighting climate change problem.

Reduction is toward farmer’s investment and not their production, thus farmers can earn good amount of money. Major advantages associated with this farming system are that it protects soil from degradation. Water table levels can be enhanced since it prevents over-exploitation of ground water. Some of the early adopters claim higher yields and low cultivation cost. Low input cost has vast impact on enhancing farmer’s yields. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations also proposed that ZBNF provide better platform to reduce the burden of loans on farmers which in turn could help in coping with the vicious debt cycle of farmers. This innovative system also forms one of the components in a way toward goal of achieving doubling of farmer’s income by 2022. This system promotes traditional system of agriculture system and hence associated with all those benefits linked with traditional farming (Biswas, 2020). Some of the major benefits associated with the system have been presented in the (Fig.2).

Government push toward this system

Even-though, ZBNF was highlighted earlier by then Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharamam in the first budget speech of the 17th Lok Sabha in july 2019, where this approach was proposed as a source of doubling farmer’s income by 2022. However currently, this method is on the top of government agricultural agenda. Recently, PM Narendra Modi, pushed ZBNF in Varanasi, Dec.14, 2021 and said that it should become a mass movement and people should be made aware of its benefits. Additionally, PM modi also promoted it while addressing around 5,000 farmers in a valedictory at the National Summit of Agro and Food Processing in Gujarat’s Anand on December 16. Central government has also sanctioned support for converting four lakh additional hectares of crop land in eight states to utilized ZBNF technique.

State implementing this practice

Central government has sanctioned support to eight states for implementing ZBNF under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana scheme (PKVY). Out of the eight states, Andhra Pradesh showed highest interest toward implementing this innovative model project, followed by Chhattisgarh and Gujarat (Bharucha et al., 2020). The Indian Council Of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is studying this method at different research institute including Modipuram (Uttar Pradesh), Ludhiana (Punjab), Pantnagar (Uttarakhand) and Kurukshetra (Haryana), evaluating the impact on productivity, economics and soil health including soil organic carbon and soil fertility.


Association of plenty number of advantages with this innovative model is attracting several investors toward implementing this project on wide scale. PM is also promoting benefits of ZBNF and implementation of natural farming. Prevention of farmers from vicious cycle of debt and there after reducing farmer’s suicide can be achieved with the dependence on this platform for agricultural production.

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