NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said that Natural farming is the need of the hour as the cost of production of food grain has increased due to the use of chemicals and fertilizers.
What is natural farming?
Natural farming is a system where the laws of nature are applied to agricultural practices.
This method works along with the natural biodiversity of each farmed area, encouraging the complexity of living organisms, both plants, and animals that shape each particular ecosystem to thrive along with food plants.
In India, Natural farming is promoted as Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati Programme (BPKP) under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY).
It was developed by Subhash Palekar from Maharashtra in the mid-1990s as an alternative to the Green Revolution’s methods, which led to indebtedness and suicide among farmers due to rising cost on external inputs in agriculture.
What is Zero budget natural farming (ZBNF)?
It is a method of chemical-free agriculture drawing from traditional Indian practices.
Using cow dung, urine based formulations and botanical extracts would help farmers in reducing the input cost.
Intercropping with leguminous crops is one of the components of ZBNF and it improves the crop productivity and soil fertility by way of fixing the atmospheric nitrogen.
It promotes soil aeration, minimal watering, intercropping, bunds and topsoil mulching and discourages intensive irrigation and deep ploughing.
Components of Natural Farming:
Beejamrit: The process includes treatment of seed using cow dung, urine and lime based formulation.
Jivamrit: The process enhances the fertility of soil using cow urine, dung, flour of pulses and jiggery concoction.
Whapasa: The process involves activating earthworms in the soil in order to create water vapour condensation.
Mulching: The process involves creating micro climate using different mulches with trees, crop biomass to conserve soil moisture.
Plant Protection: The process involves spraying of biological concoctions which prevents pest, disease and weeds problems and protects the plant and improves their soil fertility.