The Zero Budget Natural Farming Method
The Indian Subhash Palekar has developed a sophisticated farming method that works entirely without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. He has called it the Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) method. As the name suggests, it has no associated costs, as the required ingredients are provided by the environment. This is an important point, as many peasant farmers face bankruptcy – 40% of their expenditure is swallowed up by the chemical manufactures who sell them genetically modified seeds, artificial fertilizer and chemical pesticides.
Subhash Palekar is himself a farmer as well as being a scientist. Following years of research he has discovered that cow dung, especially that from the Desi cow is of particular value for use on depleted soils. He has developed various natural formulations, including a fermented cow dung mixture that re-mineralises the soil and allows it to recover incredibly well. In 2016 he received the Padma Shri Award for his research. This is the fourth highest national award in India. Congratulations!
We from Sankranti e.V. visited some of the farmers on their land to see the situation for ourselves. Any doubts we had were dispelled and we were very impressed. It’s fantastic to see how happy these families are since they have implemented this farming method. The plants grow much better and look so much healthier. One farmer was so enthusiastic about how big his papaya tree had grown and said that the roots now grow much deeper into the ground. He also told us how bad the leaves used to look.
There is a lot of information and many videos on YouTube and elsewhere on the internet from successful ZBNF farmers, and a PDF, “ACTION RESEARCH REPORT ON SUBHASH PALEKAR’S ZERO BUDGET NATURAL FARMING” download here (159 Kb). On Subhash Palekar’s website there is detailed information about the Zero Budget Natural Farming Method that he has developed.
In the future three experienced ZBNF trainers will make field visits every ten days and carry out training. Workshops will also be organised on ZBNF farms. The first training session has already taken place and the trainer from Andhra Pradesh was very enthusiastic about the project and the interest shown by the 56 participants. He said “The women particularly showed a lot of interest.”
The dedicated members of our Indian associates the Goshala Trust Warangal are very well trained in this farming method. They have been passing on their knowledge for some time in the form of training in the villages. Mr. Ramesh, chairman of the Goshala Trust, talks about the manufacture of the natural fertilizers in the videos below.