1. Agriculture World

APZBNF Model: A Roadmap For Agricultural Transformation

Hitul Awasthi
Hitul Awasthi

Andhra Pradesh is known as the “Rice Bowl of India”. But, recent events of farmers’ distress and agricultural crisis prompted the government to chalk out a plan for the welfare of farmers. Andhra Pradesh Zero Budget Natural Farming (APZBNF) model is the outcome of the hard work and efforts of the policy makers and commitment of the government to make farming profitable. 

A diverse soil food web enhances the agricultural productivity, conserves biodiversity, aids in carbon sequestration and water availability. But, conventional chemical farming practices resulted in degradation of soil biota and losses to farmers. High input costs made farming non-profitable enterprise. To reverse the adverse effects of chemical farming a regenerative agriculture approach was adopted and promoted by Andhra Pradesh government i.e., Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF). ZBNF is an agro-ecological approach that aims at conservation of environment and makes farming profitable for the farmers by reducing dependency on costly external inputs. 

Institutional set up – 

Rythu Sadhikara Samstha (RySS), a not-for-profit company is setup under the state department of agriculture, for effective implementation of APZBNF model. Involvement of community resource persons (CRPs), a saturation approach, involvement of women, organisation for training and emphasis on poorest of poor, makes this model a very unique plan for up-lifting farmers economy and well-being. It also promotes setting up of ZBNF based enterprises, kitchen gardens, skill development centres and markets for sale of produce. 

Implementation plan – 

  • Technical support is extended to a gram panchayat for period of 5-7 years
  • Each farmer requires a guidance for 3-5 years, for complete transition to natural farming
  • A team of 2-3 master farmers, called community resource persons (CRPs) is constituted at cluster-level
  • CRPs helps in smooth transition of other farmers by providing them guidelines and technical advises
  • After 2-3 years, a new pool of internal community resource persons (iCRPs) is created within the targeted gram panchayats. These iCRPs further aids in disseminating the knowledge of ZBNF in their community
  • Effective mobilization and monitoring of farmers is carried out by involvement of women self help groups and village organizations.
  • Since 2017, funds for implementation are directly channelized to RySS for effective implementation of the programme 

APZBNF model has received a wide spread popularity and effectiveness in aiding transition of farmers from chemical farming to natural farming. NITI Aayog, a GOI think-tank, has even recommended this strategy to other states, for successful implementation of natural farming practices. 

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