The Karnataka Natural Farmers’ Association has welcomed the budget announcement to support zero-budget natural farming (ZBNF).

President of the association Ishwarappa Chakote and member Chandrashekar Kadadi told
The Hindu
that this would be a long-term welfare measure for farmers. “I have been practising ZBNF for 20 years now. My cost of cultivation has reduced significantly while the returns have improved steadily. It can be practised in all agro- climatic zones,” Mr. Kadadi said.

The farmer from Hulsoor in Bidar district has acted as a resource person for ZBNF in Karnataka and Maharashtra. Mr. Chakote said that the programme has to be implemented cautiously.

“The government should focus on training farmers and organising them. Care should be taken to see that it does not become another subsidy-oriented scheme,” the farmer leader from Bidar said. “The government seems to have finally understood what we had been saying for years,” said Vivek Kamat , a ZBNF practitioner from Bailhongal in Belagavi district.

Mr. Kamat who grows grains, fruits and vegetables using the ZBNF method, sells them in Belagavi.

He said the government should take it up as a priority project and convince all farmers to implement it. “If we all do it, there will be no need for loan waiver schemes in the future,” he said.

The method involves avoiding inorganic fertilizers and pesticides. Farmers use compost and herbal pesticides prepared in their backyard instead.

They follow traditional methods like cover crops, mulching and inter-cropping to increase yields and reduce and avoid chemical inputs.

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