Natural farming is an ecological farming approach established by Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer and philosopher. It is also referred to as “the Fukuoka Method”, “the natural way of farming” or “do-nothing farming”. The title refers not to lack of effort, but to
the avoidance of manufactured inputs and equipment. Natural farming is related to fertility farming, organic farming, sustainable agriculture, agroecology, agroforestry, eco agriculture and permaculture, but should be distinguished from biodynamic agriculture.
In principal, practitioners of natural farming maintain that it is not a technique but a view, or a way of seeing ourselves as a part of nature, rather than separate from or above it. Accordingly, the methods themselves vary widely depending on culture and local conditions.
Rather than offering a structured method, Fukuoka distilled the natural farming mindset into five principles:
- No tillage
- No fertilizer
- No pesticides or herbicides
- No weeding
- No pruning
Subhash Palekar Zero Budget Natural Farming:
As the name implies, is a method of farming where the cost of growing and harvesting plants is zero. This means that farmers need not purchase fertilizers and pesticides in order to ensure the healthy growth of crops.
Cow dung from local cows has proven to be a miraculous cure to revive the fertility and nutrient value of soil. One gram of cow dung is believed to have anywhere between 300 to 500 crore beneficial micro-organisms. These micro-organisms decompose the dried biomass on the soil and convert it into ready-to-use nutrients for plants.The reason we do not witness the same in our farms is because the micro-organisms that convert raw nutrients into easy-to-digest form have been destroyed by the use of poisonous chemical fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides. Cultivation of soil by tractor has already proved to be detrimental to these micro-organisms. Since these micro-organisms help convert nutrients into a digestible form that plants can absorb and use, it is critical to revive them in our farms. This can be done by using cow dung from local cows.
- Only dung from local, Indian cows is effective on the soil. Dung from Jersey and Holstein cows is not as effective. If one is falling short of dung from local cows, one may use dung from bullocks or buffaloes.
- Dung and urine of the black coloured Kapila cow is believed to be the most effective.
- To get the most of the cow dung and urine, ensure that the dung is as fresh as possible and that the urine is as old as possible.
- An acre of land requires 10 kilograms of local cow dung per month. Since the average cow gives 11 kilograms of dung a day, dung from one cow can help fertilize 30 acres of land.
- Urine, jaggery and dicot flour can be used as additives.
- The lesser milk the cow gives, the more beneficial its dung is towards reviving the soil.
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