Subhash Palekar: Founder Zero Budget Natural Farming in India

Subhash Palekar: Founder Zero Budget Natural Farming in India

Ever since, the July 2019 budget speech of finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted the government thrust on Zero based natural farming as one of the possible solution for doubling farmer’s income, there has been widespread curiosity and buzz regarding what is Zero based natural farming and the person behind this idea.

What is Zero Based Natural Farming ?

Zero budget natural farming (ZBNF) is a method of chemical free agriculture based out of traditional Indian practices. It has attained wide success in southern India, especially the southern Indian state of Karnataka where it first evolved. Additionally, in this method of farming, the cost of growing and harvesting plants is zero. This means that farmers need not purchase fertilizers and pesticides from market to ensure the healthy growth of crops.

Learn More on: Zero Based Natural Farming

Subhash Palekar & Zero Budget Natural Farming

Subhash Palekar, an agriculturalist from Belora village of Amravati district in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region is the creator of the ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming’ model in India. Subhash developed this technique in the mid-1990s as an alternative to the Green Revolution’s methods driven by chemical fertilisers, pesticides and intensive irrigation. 


Since 1972-1985, while practicing the chemical farming, his agricultural production was continuously increasing. But, after 1985, it started declining. He was surprised that, if he is following the technology of chemical farming i.e. Green revolution totally, then why the production was decreasing? After searching the causes for three years, he came to the conclusion that, Agriculture science is based on the false philosophy.Some thing is wrong with Green revolution. Then he had started searching alternate technology to chemical farming.

From 1986 to 1988, Palekar’s quest for natural farming techniques led him to the study of forest vegetation. It was here that he discovered the natural system at work in forests, maintaining healthy ecosystems. For a period of six years, from 1989 to 1995, Subhash experimented trying to adapt natural techniques in agriculture. After thorough research, he verified different techniques, consolidating them into the ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming’ technique.

In 2016, Subhash Palekar received fourth highest civilian award “Padmshri” 


On 14 June 2017, Sri. Subhash Palekar was appointed as advisor to the state of Andhra Pradesh on Zero Budget Farming with the aim of encouraging natural farming. The advisor role is equivalent to cabinet rank. Palekar has given presentation to Prime Minister Modi on zero budget natural farming.

Few Contributions of Subhash Palekar:

  • Subhash Palekar has written more than 20 books in Marathi, 4 books in English, and 3 books in Hindi.
  • According to the Economic Survey, more than 1.6 lakh farmers are practising the ZBNF in almost 1,000 villages using some form of state support
  • The FAO report highlights a rough estimation for just Karnataka and puts the figure there at around 100,000 farmer families.
  • In an interview to Economic Times, Mr. Palekar said that about 50 lakh farmers have started practicing his method of farming. 

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