New Delhi, July 5: Presenting the first Union Budget 2019-20 of the Modi 2.0 government, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman suggested that farmers take up zero-budget farming. "We shall go back to basics on one count: zero-budget farming. It is not a new thing. We need to replicate this innovative model. Some states have already tried it. Farmers are already being trained in this practice," Sitharaman said in her maiden budget speech.
The Finance Minister said zero-budget farming can help to double farmers income in time for the 75th Independence Day celebrations. The original term is Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Zero budget farming encourages farmers to shun credit or loans from banks and chemical fertilisers for agriculture. It involves minimum external intervention. Full Highlights of Union Budget 2019.
The term zero budget farming was first propagated 25 years ago by agriculturist Subhash Palekar as a movement for farmers in Karnataka who were in debt due to the Green Revolution. Under this concept, farmers avoid depending on loans by reducing farming expenditure drastically. Farmers use their own seeds rather than market seeds. Farming is done in sync with nature and without using chemical fertilisers. Budget 2019: 10 Good News From Nirmala Sitharaman's First Financial Blueprint.
Farmers often take loans due to farming expenditure and end up being trapped under debt. Zero budget farming aims at pulling the farmers out of the debt trap and making them self-dependent.