How Andhra is taking to ‘natural farming’

Vijaywada/New Delhi: About three years ago, Pawan Kumar, working as an IT professional at Hyderabad, decided to quit his job and return to his village to become a farmer. His father, a small farmer in West Godavari district, tried to discourage him but Kumar who had read about a new method of “natural farming” would not listen.

“My mother cried a lot… they told me no girl would marry a farmer but I am happy I came back. My father was initially reluctant to let me farm even an acre, but now he has allowed me to convert all five acres to natural farming,” says Kumar, 26.

Kumar is among 163,034 farmers in Andhra Pradesh practising zero-budget natural farming or ZBNF, where chemical fertilizers and pesticides make way for locally available cow dung and cow urine, jaggery and pulse flour. These are used to make a fermented culture which stimulates microbial activity in the soil, promoting better plant growth and protect crops against pest attacks