Guwahati: The North Eastern state of Manipur and Nagaland is all set to implement the zero budget natural farming (ZBNF) system which has got an encouraging response from the tribal farmers of Visakhapatnam. A nine-member delegation from Imphal, the capital city of Manipur, which has come on a study tour to the Visakhapatnam Agency has decided to replicate the ZBNF system in the North-Eastern States.
The ZBNF is a practice that believes in the natural growth of crops without the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, apart from ensuring the zero net cost of production of the crops grown. The system relies on the locally available organic inputs such as cow dung and cow urine for seed treatment and other inoculations.
The climate resilient ZBNF system was the brainchild of Rythu Sadhikara Samstha, a not-for-profit company fully-owned by the A.P government. The system was started with an aim of reaching out to 6 million farmers and bringing around 8 million hectares under natural farming by 2024.
In the first phase, the system is being implemented in 5 lakh acres covering five lakh farmers. The Imphal delegation that came to the State on an invitation of Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative, after visiting the ZBNF areas in Chintapalle and G.K. Veedhi mandals, has resolved to implement the success story in Manipur and Nagaland.
A member of the visiting delegation from Manipur, Kamei Chingkhiungam, coordinator of Rongmei Naga Baptist Association (RNBA), who is keen on implementing the project in Manipur said, “It is amazing to find tribal farmers reaping the benefits of natural farming methods. We are associated with the livelihood improvement of the tribal farmers of around 2,100 villages in Manipur by promoting agriculture, horticulture, poultry, piggery, duckery, and fisheries. We want to promote the ZBNF in a big way Yingkongshon Shaiza, another team member from Nagaland, said, "we have found ZBNF as a user-friendly project that promotes sustainable agriculture. This system should be implemented across the country,”
The project is being implemented through a cluster approach to free farmers from the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers, with the support of Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative. A target has been set to create 6,800 master farmers as capacity-builders. In Visakhapatnam district, Pinakaota in Anantagiri mandal and D. Gonduru in Paderu mandal have been chosen s the model villages. Koramgindi in Gangavaram mandal of East Godavari, Kotala Cheruvu in Atmakur mandal in Kurnool district and Melacheruvu in Srikalahasti of Chittoor district have been selected as the resource villages.
Krishna Rao, CEO, of Kovel Foundation, which promotes sustainable agriculture, and is the partner NGO for the RSS in these four districts said, “So far, we have trained 6,800 master farmers in 60 clusters, a move that will benefit around 60,000 farmers. He also expressed confidence that the number of beneficiaries in these four districts will increase to 1 lakh in a year.