The Government of Andhra Pradesh has launched a scale-out plan to transition 6 million farms & farmers cultivating 8 million hectares of land from conventional synthetic chemical agriculture to Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) by 2024, making Andhra Pradesh India’s first 100 % natural farming state.
The programme is a contribution towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on ‘No Poverty’, ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’, ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’, and ‘Life on Land’. It is led by Rythu Sadhikara Samstha (RySS) – a not-for-profit established by the Government to implement the ZBNF programme – and supported by the Sustainable India Finance Facility (SIFF) – an innovative partnership between UN Environment, BNP Paribas, and the World Agroforestry Centre.
As both a social and environmental programme, the aim is to ensure that farming – particularly smallholder farming – is economically viable by enhancing farm biodiversity and ecosystem services. It reduces farmers’ costs through eliminating external inputs and using in-situ resources to rejuvenate soils, whilst simultaneously increasing incomes, and restoring ecosystem health through diverse, multi-layered cropping systems.
Zero Budget Natural Farming also aims to create the social capital necessary for vibrant and inclusive agricultural production, by establishing farmers’ federations and self-help groups, and placing farmers at the forefront of knowledge creation and dissemination. ( Story courtesy : Wires)