While presenting the 2019 Budget speech on Friday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made an interesting proposal of Zero Budget farming while speaking about the country’s agrarian situation. She said zero budget farming is already being practiced in some states of the country. Sitharaman said the emphasis on zero budget farming would help double the farming income in days to come.

What is a Zero Budget farming?

Zero budget farming is a set of farming methods that involve zero credit for agriculture and no use of chemical fertilizers. As per Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman; the nation needs needing to replicated ‘Zero Budget Farming’ and go back to basics while ‘doubling farmers’ income.’

The Zero Budget Farming started as a farming movement in Karnataka as a result of a collaboration between the state farmers’ association and agriculturist Subhash Palekar and was replicated by various states. It aims at pulling the farmers out of the debt trap that they found themselves in with the liberalization of the Indian economy. This is also an attempt to make small scale farming a viable vocation.

Last year, the government of Andhra Pradesh had launched a scale-out plan to transition six million farmers and farms to cultivate 8 million hectares of land 2024, to make it India’s first 100% natural farming state. ZBNF also promotes for intercropping, contours and bunds to preserve rainwater, to use local earthworms instead of vermicompost and cow dung. Zero budget farming model promises to cut down farming expenditure drastically and ends dependence on loans.