ZBNF vs Organic Farming Vs Conventional Farming

ZBNF vs Organic Farming Vs Conventional Farming

News: Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) in Andhra Pradesh has led to significantly higher crop yield compared to organic or conventional (synthetic fertilisers and pesticides) farming, a new study of the state’s natural farming programme has found.

 The southern state has been pushing 100 per cent chemical-free agriculture under the Andhra Pradesh Community Managed Natural Farming (APCNF) programme it launched in 2016.
 In the last six years, it has worked with 0.63 million farmers out of a total estimated six million farmers in the state, on natural farming.

Key Findings:
 Researchers from the University of Reading, the United Kingdom and Rythu Sadikara Samstha, a non-profit set up by the government in 2014 observed that when compared to the conventional treatment, yields were maintained in the case of organic farming and increased in ZBNF.
 Apart from the higher yield, nutrient availability was also unaffected in ZBNF. This is a significant finding as there have been arguments that conventional treatment, which uses synthetic fertilisers, increases extractable nutrient concentrations compared to organic and ZBNF treatments.
 However, the efficacy of the ZBNF treatment was context specific and varied according to district and the crop in question. The ZBNF yield benefit is likely attributed to mulching, generating a cooler soil, with a higher moisture content and a larger earthworm population.
 It has been estimated earlier that if ZBNF covered 25 per cent of the total crop area in Andhra Pradesh, $70 million would be saved in fertiliser subsidies every year.

BasisConventional FarmingOrganic FarmingZBNF
Chemical UsageExtensive use of chemicals, fertilizersIt discourages use of fertilizers and pesticides but not completely prohibits.Complete prohibition of use of any chemical or organic fertilizers.
SoilRelies on ploughing, tilling, and mixing of manuresRequires basic agro practices like tilling, ploughing.Focuses on decomposition of organic matter on soil surface.
Cost FactorExpensive compared to others as it involves use of external inputs and machines.Can be expensive as it involves cost of organic inputs, labor.Can be done at zero budget as it involves use of local materials.
Use of external sourcesRelies on external source for manure, fertilizers.Relies on external sourcesRelies on locally available material. Beejamrita, Jeevamrita.
SustainabilityNegative impact on environment, degrades soil qualityProtects soil quality and improves biodiversity.Promotes sustainability.
Use of PesticidesChemical pesticidesNatural pesticidesNatural, farm-made pesticides like Dashparni ark and Neem Astra.
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