Agriculture World

Prakritik Kheti Khushal Kissan: Himachal Pradesh

Hitul Awasthi
Hitul Awasthi

In Himachal Pradesh, CSKHPKV, Palampur was first to initiate the Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) activities. On 29th January, 2018, a ZBNF centre was inaugurated in the university by the then governor of HP, under the Department of Organic Agriculture and Natural Farming, CSKHPKV. The centre aims at popularization of the ZBNF practices among farmers through KVKs, NGOs and Line departments, and to develop standardized technologies for cultivation of different crops under ZBNF system. Studies conducted in the state revealed that, ZBNF practices improved soil quality and significantly reduced the incidence of invasive leaf miner as compared to organic and conventional farming. In 2019-20, a total of 19,936 farmers are practicing ZBNF in total area of 1,155 ha in HP. 

Issue  

With Green Revolution, the use of agro chemicals was extensively promoted to increase crop production. But, with increase in consumer awareness, yield stagnation and environment degradation, a more sustainable farming system was required which can improve farmer’s livelihood. To repair the damage caused by chemical farming, ZBNF concept suggested by Padam Shri Subhash Palekar was adopted in HP. This practice reduces dependence on costly external inputs and promotes use of cow dung and urine of indigenous breeds of cows, to restore the soil microbiome.  

Prakritik Kheti Khushal Kisan Scheme  

The scheme aims to enhance farm income by adoption of climate resilient ZBNF practices. The state Department of Agriculture is the nodal agency for its implementation. It converges the actions under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and Paramparagat KrishiVikas Yojana (PKVY) and other state schemes for effective implementation and popularisation of ZBNF practices.  

Objectives 

Promotes climate smart agriculture

Reduces cost of cultivation

Improves soil health and biodiversity

Discourages use of agro-chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides

Prepare POPs for different crops

Encourages natural farming and eco-friendly approaches

Incentives for farmers  

  1. 80% assistance for lining of cattle sheds

  2. 75% assistance for providing plastic drums to farmers. Maximum of three drums will be provided per farmer

  3. 75%assistance for physical and biological pest control measures

  4. Third party certification process for efficient marketing of ZBNF produce

  5. One time assistance of INR 50,000/ shop spread over three years for opening PrakritikKheti Sansadhan Bhandar shops at village level for supply of ZBNF inputs

  6. Honorarium for resource persons and experts involved in capacity building and kisan goshthis 

Implementation  

The implementation process will follow a well established hierarchy and at each level steps will be taken to coordinate and promote implementation of ZBNF practices among farmers. 

  •  Apex state level committee for monitoring ZBNF under chairmanship of CM of HP. Additional chief secretary (Agriculture) would be member secretary of the committee

  • State level task force for promotion of organic farming in HP under Chief secretary to government of HP

  • State Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) in Directorate of Agriculture for planning, implementation, and monitoring of the programme

  • A District Unit will implement and monitor programme at district level under the control of Deputy Director Agriculture/ Horticulture and will report to the state unit of ZBNF.

  • Block Technical Team (BTT) under Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) will coordinate activities at block level. Chemical farming will be discouraged in ZBNF clusters. Agriculture Development Officer and Agriculture Extension Officer will be responsible for maintenance of work of BTT.

  • Clusters selected under RKVY and PKVY for organic farming, will be converted to ZBNF. Progressive farmer will be key resource persons and will aid in implementation of the scheme

  • Two state agriculture universities, i.e., Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar HPKV, Palampur and Dr. Y. S. Parmar UHF, Solan will conduct trials and develop technologies for different crops

  • Department of Animal Husbandry will help in selection, multiplication and availability of high performing domestic cow breeds to the farmers  

With ZBNF farming, the government of Himachal Pradesh aims at reducing cost of production of the farmers and promote their wellbeing.  

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