Top farm scientists body rejects zero budget natural farming -Harish Damodaran and Parthasarathi Biswas

-The Indian Express

This comes even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the 14th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification on Monday, mentioned that “we are focusing on ZBNF”.

India’s premier academic body of agricultural scientists has hit out at Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), terming it as an “unproven” technology bringing no incremental value gain to either farmers or consumers.

“The government should not needlessly invest capital and human resources towards promoting ZBNF. We have given our recommendations in writing to the Prime Minister and it reflects the view held by the scientific community,” said Panjab Singh, president of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS).

This comes even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the 14th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification on Monday, mentioned that “we are focusing on ZBNF”. The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Union Budget speech, too, had talked of the need to “go back to basics” and “replicate this innovative model (that) can help in doubling our farmers’ income”.

The New Delhi-based NAAS – a farm scientists’ think tank with over 650 fellows and 15 regional chapters across India – had organised a day-long “brainstorming session” on ZBNF last month. It was attended, among others, by the Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Trilochan Mohapatra and NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand.

“In all, there were about 75 experts that included scientists, policymakers, progressive farmers, NGOs and fertiliser, seed and crop protection chemical industry representatives. We reviewed the protocols and claims of ZBNF and concluded that there is no verifiable data or authenticated results from any experiment for it to be considered a feasible technological option. We had invited Subhash Palekar (the man behind ZBNF) as well, but he did not come,” claimed Singh, who is also a former ICAR Director-General.

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The Indian Express, 10 September, 2019, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/zero-budget-natural-farming-government-scientists-question-5981236/?fbclid=IwAR3SOhJPmYUpwmiNEf13o2Z1IBf_M-wSeIHf9ftIWp7

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