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Budget 2019: FM Sitharaman brings up ‘Zero budget farming’ in speech, all you need to know

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her Budget speech stressed the need for farmers to consider taking up “Zero budget farming” to tackle the ongoing agrarian distress.

According to a Food and Agirculture Organisation (FAO) report, zero budget natural farming (ZBNF) is a series of farming practices to ensure that farmers do not fall into a debt trap to grow their crops.

The report noted that the small farmer finds agriculture inputs to be expensive and inaccessible, which forces them to secure credit to secure these inputs. The high interest rates, unpredictable monsoons, the fluctuation of crop prices make repayment of the credit difficult for these farmers. Many studies have linked farmer suicides to inability to repay debts.


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By relying on natural agricultural inputs with no chemicals, ZBNF aims for farmers to carry out their occupation without getting trapped in a vicious cycle of debt.

The movement first took root in Karnataka under the initiative of Subhash Palekar with the help of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS), which would mobilise the farmers to attend camps where Palekar would teach the farmers ZBNF techniques and speak about successful case studies.

The report stated that close to 1 lakh farmers could be producing ZBNF farming, while volunteers who carry out these training programmes say that the number could run into millions across the country.

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By udaen

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