Introduction to ZBNF (Zero Budget natural farming)
Everyone must have heard about Organic farming in some form or other, but very few people are aware of ZBNF. This article elaborates on what is ZBNF and how it is different from organic farming. It also lists out why ZBNF should be a more preferable way of farming than organic farming.
Background of current Day Farming
The present day Agricultural system is overburdened with inorganic chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides. The other inputs like seeds are genetically modified to give high cancerous growth and even the cattle are not spared by using Hybrid cows and other animals for giving high output. In short what we are doing is that we are modifying the natural intelligence given by nature or which has been evolved in millions of years.
To modify the natural process for betterment with a few years of intelligence and innovation and challenge millions of years of intelligence is as a thought a flawed idea. We might get quick results in the shape of higher yields, some short term cost savings but the long term impacts are horrifying. We are already seeing negative impacts of artificial farming like increase in diseases due to pesticide laden crops, pollution of water through pesticides and chemicals, increased alkalinity of soil resulting in reduced yields, dependency for seeds and fertilizers on big companies and multinationals, increased cost of production and reduction in water retention property of soil.
So what is the solution? If you talk organic which is a new fad, it also involves usage of interventions like vermin compost, natural pesticides and other interventions. This method also believes in intervention in the natural process and hence also has its short comings. This also does not reduce the ecological footprint and costs to farmers.
ZBNF or Zero Budget natural farming
Anyone who understands natural ecosystems and how it function, and relies on nature’s produce, processes and anything that does not require farmers to borrow and buy things from the market is doing natural farming and is good for economic viability and ecological sustainability. This exactly is what ZBNF or Zero budget natural farming is.
Currently organic farming is getting accepted more as there at least you have to put something in the soil. In ZBNF, you do not have to put anything in the soil and this comes as a shock to people. Since, it sounds too good, nobody is ready to believe it. But slowly awareness is increasing and things are changing for better.
So we have to define ZBNF as a process, the farmers recreate a diverse ecosystem in their farms, without any external inputs, such as chemical fertilizers or pesticides. And, in the process, it eliminates water and labour requirements, thus, making farming economically and ecologically sustainable. The produce is poison-free as the soil is devoid of any inorganic pesticide or fertilizer, benefitting both the farmer and the consumer.
FOURWHEELS OF ZBNF
The father of ZBNF Subash Palekar has provided four important guidelines:
- Bijamrita (Seed Treatment using local cowdung and cow urine)
- Jiwamrita (applying inoculation made of local cowdung and cow urine without any fertilizers and pesticides)
- Mulching (activities to ensure favorable microclimate in the soil)
- Waaphasa (soil aeration).
These four steps will be explained in details in another article but there could be other ways of doing natural farming as well. The important thing is to know that use only those resources which are freely provided by nature without doing any modification whatsoever.
Yes there are many working models of naturals farming all over the world, the zero budget natural farming (ZBNF) is the most popular model in india. This comprehensive,natural, and spritual farming system.
Difference between ZBNF and organic farming:
Many people perceive Natural farming and Organic farming as same, but there is a huge difference in both. The following points will clarify on this misconception:
- In organic farming, organic farming fertilizers and manures like compost, vermin compost, cow dung manure etc. are used and added to farmlands from external sources.
- In natural farming neither chemical nor organic fertilizers added to the soil. In fact, additives like jiv amrut and ghan jiv amrut are added to soil or give to plants to establish an ecosystem.
- In natural farming, decomposition of organic matter by microbes and earthworms is encouraged right on the soil surface itself, which gradually adds nutrition in the soil over the period.
- Organic farming is still expensive due to the requirement of bulk manures, and it has an ecological impact on surrounding environments, whereas, natural agriculture is an extremely low cost farming method, completely molding with local biodiversity.
Benefits of ZBNF
ZBNF has benefits not just for the farmers and consumers but to ecology as a whole. The following are a few benefits:
- Huge cost savings for farmers in form of savings on fertilizers and chemicals.
- Poison free natural food to consumers.
- No Generic modifications and other interventions giving best natural food harmonious to our system.
- No soil and water pollution.
- Increase in fertility of soil.
- No impact on surrounding natural ecology.
- Minimal to no investments required from farmers.
- Long term sustainable model of farming.