Niti Aayog has urged all the states to work towards giving practical shape to the Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) on the lines of Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, for which the Aayog will provide all assistance. According to the NITI Aayog, ZBNF will be considered as a recognized component to double farmer’s income by 2022 and also by adopting this farm practice it would bring down the cost of farming, thereby significantly enhancing the profit margin for farmers. The NITI Aayog on Monday late evening organized National Conference on Zero Budget Natural Farming in New Delhi. Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog presided over the conference and Governor Acharya Devvrat attended it as a special guest.Speaking on the occasion, Governor Acharya Devvrat said, “'The challenge before us today is to double the income of farmers in such a way that fertility of the soil improves along with increase in production of the crops. It is not possible with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The only alternative with the farmers is to adopt ZBNF which is successfully tested in the field.”He presented a detailed document and shared vast experience of Gurukul Kurukshetra, where he had adopted natural farming in near about 200 acres of land and was being successfully cultivated. “Agricultural scientists, Central & State Ministers, MPs, officials and policy makers, all have visited Gurukul and they have closely seen its success”, said Acharya Devvrat. He said this method has been successful on a large scale and was a perfect example for farm community.
The Governor said that Himachal Pradesh has also adopted this model and the state government has made a budget provision of Rs. 25 crores to give it a practical shape. Training Camps were organized in the State in a big way and farmers were shifting to natural agriculture. ZBNF was a practical method and would not only benefit small and marginal farmers, but also the medium and large farmers could successfully adopt it at no cost. It also protects soil from degradation, helps in retaining soil fertility and is climate-change resilient, he added.Acharya Devvrat said ZBNF system was the only alternative for chemical and organic farming as it was safe and had capacity to double the income of farmers. Under this system, the cost of production becomes zero and products were non-poisonous. It also increases productivity of land, requires less consumption of water, protects friendly pests and the products were of best quality. He said that under it, a set of natural farming methods was used where the cost of growing and harvesting crops was almost zero, which means farmers need not purchase fertilizers and pesticides. He added that the inputs used were locally available in form of cow dung and cow urine and this would lower the cost of inputs for farmers. He said the as per the available data based on scientific research, by adopting this farming method, the cost of production of farmers could be reduced and enhances the farmers’income. He also detailed all important espects of ZBNF and urged the policy makers to adopt this model for the benefit of farm community. He said that such farming technique would go a long way in benefitting the people and those farmers who had already adopted this technique were getting better prices of their produce.
The Governor thanked the NITI Aayog for considering ZBNF as a component of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and hoped that it would be helpful in promoting natural farming in a right direction.It was due to exemplary achievement of adopting and promoting the Zero Budget Natural Farming in many states of Northern India including Himachal Pradesh that the NITI Aayog invited Acharya Devvrat specifically to this conference, so that benefits of his rich experience need to be shared with other stakeholders.Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog Dr. Rajiv Kumar said that States can promote ZBNF under the two farm sector schemes- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. “50 lakh farmers are working on ZBNF in different States, he said, adding that not only it has potential for India it also has global potential.Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said, “We are seeing side-effects of use of chemicals and fertilizers in crops and natural farming is traditional method of farming and totally safe.”Padamshree Dr. Subhash Palekar highlighted the prospects and challenges of Zero Budget Natural Farming in doubling the income of farmers.Member, NITI Aayog Ramesh Chand, CEO, NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant, Senior officers from Ministry of Agriculture and various States, representatives from agriculture universities, institutes, farmers & practitioners were also present on the occasion.