Article and Image Courtesy : The Hans India
Author : Akarapu Satish Kumar
The agricultural economy in the country is in a crisis. The farmers are not getting remunerative prices on one hand and the cost of in-puts is galloping, resulting in their indebtedness. It in turn is pushing the farmers in helpless state. The suicides among the hapless farmers are on the increase. The farmer is caught in a vicious circle. An agricultural scientist and model farmer Subhas Palekar says it is possible to get the farmer out of this by adopting “Zero Budget Natural Farming”.
His philosophy is simple. In forests, there are enormous fruits to the big trees of Mango, Ber, Tamarind, Jamulum, Custard apple, Neem, Moha every year in famine also without human assistance. He conducted research and came to the conclusion that there is a self developing, self nourishing and totally self reliant natural system in the forest, by which all the vegetation and ecosystem existed without any human effort. He studied that natural system and verified those natural processes of the forest on his farm for six year, from1989 to1995. Thus he evolved “Zero budget natural farming”.
Subhas Palekar did his B Sc in agricultural and worked in the state government for some time. Then he switched to his own farming and experimented and evolved the technical package for “Zero budget natural farming”. He is imparting knowledge to farmers throughout India by means of continuous workshops, seminars. He also penned books in Marathi, Hindi, English, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil languages. Palekar held a work shop on zero budget natural farming in Basara in Adilabad district from 11 to 16 of September in collaboration with NABARD and Dharmavardhani Sabha. About 600 farmers attended the workshop.
Subhas Palekar gave an exclusive interview to The Hans India on his way of farming and its benefits. Excerpts from the interview are given below:
Do you think the farmers will change their way of farming after attending your workshop?
It is not that easy. Farmers were squeezed by everybody including the universities. The technologies developed at the universities are not useful to the farmers. That is why they are committing suicides. Organic farming is as dangerous as farming with the help of chemical fertilizers. They are reluctant to use new technology. First they should try it in one acre and if it is useful then they should extend it to all their land.
How many farmers in the state are practicing the zero budget farming?
The Government says 10 lakh farmers are cultivating their fields without investment. We trained 10 thousand farmers in zero budget farming in the state. These are all estimates. Nobody collected empirical data.
How many farmers in the country are practicing this method?
An estimated 40 lakh farmers are implementing this method. Most of them are from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. There are very few in the northern states.