Agriculture is one of the essential requirements to produce food. Assuming we take a gander at the whole ecosystem, then agriculture seems to be both the cause and victim of water scarcity. The green revolution had a noteworthy impact on the world’s food production, however, it’s likewise become the rationale for land infertility, which thus become the reason for unnecessary water utilization and demonstrated groundwater loss. As per Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), excessive utilization of water has affected the sustainability of livelihoods hooked into agriculture and water. There’s a worldwide demand to vary from conventional farming to sustainable farming systems, like Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF).
ZBNF has been defined as the farming technique that believes in the natural growth of crops without adding any extra fertilizers, insecticides, weedicides, and pesticides, or other foreign elements. The word Zero Budget is defined as the zero net cost of production of all crops (intercrops, border crops, multi crops, etc). The inputs such as seeds required for seed treatments and other inoculations are made available locally within the form of cow dung and cow urine.
Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) may be a holistic alternative to this paradigm of high-cost chemical inputs-based agriculture. It’s very effective in addressing the uncertainties of global climate change. ZBNF principles are consonant with the principles of Agroecology. Its uniqueness is that it supports the newest scientific discoveries in Agriculture, and, at an equivalent time it’s rooted in traditional agriculture. UN-FAO in April 2018 urged all the nations to maneuver towards the adoption of Agroecology to satisfy the dual aims of worldwide food security and conservation of the environment.
The four wheels of Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF):
It is a fermented microbial culture and helps in promoting the activity of earthworms and microorganisms within the soil. Both aerobic and anaerobic microbes multiply during this. Jivamrita is required for the first three years of transition, so as to restore the soil biota. It’s applied twice a month in irrigated water or as 10% foliar spray. For treating an acre of land 200 liters of jeevamrutha is sufficient.
Method of Preparation – Put 200 liters of water in a barrel and add 10kg fresh cow dung and 5-10 liters of aged cow urine. Add 2 kg of jaggery, 2 kg of pulse flour, and a few soils. Stir well and let ferment for 48 hours in a shady and cool place.
Treatment of seeds, seedlings, and planting material using local cow dung and cow urine. Applied as seed coating then these seeds are sown. Bijamrita is made from cow dung, urine, lime, and soil. It prevents the attack of pathogens causing diseases in the young plants.
Method of Preparation – First of all, 5kg cow dung is taken in cloth and kept in a container having 50 l of water for 12 hrs. Then, 5 l of cow urine, a few soils, and 50g of calcium chloride are added to the present extract.
It refers to the activities that ensure a favorable microclimate within the soil. Soil mulch prevents excess water loss during cultivation and increases aeration and water retention. Straw mulch is the dried biomass likewise live mulch means the multiple crops on an equivalent field. Conservation and availability of those three mulches are extremely essential for the higher yields.
Whapasa (Soil aeration)
Whapasa refers to a condition in which the soil has both air and water molecules present. In this way, the Zero Budget Natural Farming technique helps in reducing the irrigation needs of the farmers.
The benefits of ZBNF are:
- Relief from Slow Poisoning
Excess use of chemicals in farms requires more water and continuous use of chemical fertilizers adversely affects the yield potential of the fertile land and makes it unfertile with time. It acts as the slow poison that is additionally reaching our body from the crops produced using chemical fertilizers. Because of this, people are susceptible to various diseases. If we would like to urge towards a healthy life, natural farming must be encouraged.
- High Yield through Zero Budget Natural Farming
Zero Budget Natural Farming also aims to induce farmers out of the debt trap. they’ll be free of the clutches of purchasing expensive seeds, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides. Farmers get much higher profits on crops and better yields. The icing on the cake is that, whatever crop is grown by this method, it’s beneficial for health due to no chemical substances used to grow it.
In the long term, it can benefit family health, food self-sufficiency, environmental awareness, reduced dependency on corporations and so on. As ZBNF also helps reduce the cost of production, it can be believed as a debt-free farming approach. However, it cannot be achieved overnight, so more study is required in this field and then this farming approach can be applied across the country.