Modi calls on farmers to adopt, encourage zero-budget farming

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Farmers should adopt natural farming to save costs and increase yields, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday and invited farmers to join a mega programme on “natural farming” on December 16.

Addressing a rally in Balrampur after inaugurating the 9,800-crore project, aimed at providing assured water for irrigation to over 1.4 million hectares and benefit about 2.9 million farmers, the PM said natural farming saves earth and water and the crop produced through it is also better.

“I invite farmers across the country for a mega farmers’ programme on natural farming on December 16. Here, you will learn about zero-budget farming, which saves water and gives better yield too,” he added.

On November 19, when PM Narendra Modi announced his decision to scrap the three contentious farm laws, he also talked about promoting zero-budget natural farming to boost farm incomes.

Zero-budget natural farming is a technique of farming that aims to bring down input costs by making farmers rely on natural inputs, shifting away from agricultural chemicals, such as pesticides and fertilisers.

The concept behind the farming technique is that 98% of nutrients required by crops for photosynthesis — carbon dioxide, nitrogen, water, and solar energy — are already available free from nature. The remaining 1.5-2% of nutrients can be derived from the soil.

Noting that Padma awardee Subhash Palekar of Maharashtra had initiated the idea of zero-budget natural farming, Modi said it saves earth and water and the crop produced through it is also better.

In her 2019-2020 Union Budget speech,  finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, too, emphasised the idea of zero-budget natural farming, and urged the farmers to “go back to basics” and “replicate this innovative model (which) can help in doubling our farmers’ income”.

At the Balrampur event, Modi further highlighted his government’s commitment to the welfare of farmers, asserting that the Modi government is the first to take care of small farmers by connecting them with government benefits.

The PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, alternative income streams in fishery, dairy and bee culture and opportunities in ethanol are some of the steps being taken. In the past four-and-a-half years, ethanol worth 12,000 crore has been purchased from Uttar Pradesh itself, the prime minister said.

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