- The Andhra Pradesh government’s unique initiative to improve farmers’ livelihood through zero budget natural farming (ZBNF) is the right solution to fight climate change
- Districts like Anantapur, Prakasam, Kadapa, Kurnool and Chittoor have traditionally been drought-prone
- There is a plan to cover an estimated 6 million farmers by 2025-26
- Besides reduced input cost, farmers practising Zero Budget Natural Farming gets higher yields
- As climate is changing, creating resilient food systems has become the need of the hour. Across the world, agriculture is facing multiple setbacks, be it in the form of extreme weather events like floods and droughts or factors such as soil degradation, soil salinity and water shortage.
- To feed the global population of 9.6 billion by 2050, as projected by a United Nations report, scaling up food production is important. But ensuring food security, producing more with less resources and building the resilience of smallholder farmers are also important in creating a food-secure future.
Natural all the way
- The Andhra Pradesh government’s unique initiative to improve farmers’ livelihood through zero budget natural farming (ZBNF) is the right solution to fight climate change in the drought-prone Rayalaseema region.
- ZBNF was initially launched in September 2015 under the Centre’s Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. Initially, 50 villages across 13 districts of the state were selected for the pilot project. It has been so successful that the government wants to scale it up.
- The main aim of ZBNF is elimination of chemical pesticides and promotion of good agronomic practices. Many farmers, who were initially reluctant to take up ZBNF, have been practising it for two seasons now. There are some who switched over last year and has witnessed good results.
- Fighting drought is one of the main objectives of ZBNF.
- Intercropping is an important feature of ZBNF.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations advocates environmentally-friendly farming methods that can take us to a more sustainable future. “We need a global transition to a more resilient and sustainable agriculture that is less dependent on agrochemicals and draws more on natural biological and ecosystem processes,”