ICAR to study zero budget farming before its rollout

The government has asked the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), India’s top farm research institution, to conduct a study on the efficacy zero budget farming (ZBF) results before its nationwide rollout. NITI Aayog member and agricultural economics and policy expert Ramesh Chand told ET reports were expected in two to three months.

“There is no scientific evidence till now on the results of zero budget farming. We will first assess the report, which ICAR will be submitting, before reaching to any conclusion,” said Chand.

Zero-budget farming is being promoted in several areas as a low-cost, natural alternative to prevalent practices of heavy use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, which can degrade the soil and leave toxic residue in the harvested crop.

Chand said that the state government and few universities in Karnataka have also conducted scientific analysis on ZBF on both Rabi and Kharif crops. “The reports of Rabi crops have come which is a mixed bag. We are now waiting for report on the ongoing Kharif plantations which is likely to be out late this year,” he said.

These studies will examine the merits and weaknesses of the method and suggest measures for validation of results at research farms and fields while assessing the expected impact of promoting ZBF on a large-scale on soil health, productivity, food production, livelihoods and sustainability of agriculture in India

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