Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday took a major initiative to work out action plan for spread of zero budget natural farming (ZBNF) in the hill state, with Governor, Acharya Devvrat playing the main motivator and originator of the concept, Padma Shi Subhash Palekar giving tips.

More than 400 participants, including officials from agriculture and animal husbandry departments, and farmers from across the state deliberated on the need and strategies at the day-long conference organised here by agriculture department for the purpose.

The farmers were of the view that an awareness campaign be started across the state for adoption of zero budget natural farming, which is done without any fertilizer and pesticides and is a healthy option as its depends only on the desi cows.

“Himachal has taken a right step to implement natural farming in the state at right time to save farm community as well as people at large,” said Palekar.

He assured to provide his assistance in this regard and said that other line departments like animal husbandry, horticulture should also associate with it.

Palekar detailed about ZBNF and said that chemical farming was mere a technology and not a natural process whereas natural farming was science and it needs no external support. He said that the only thing which required was to follow it.

Governor Acharya Devvrat urged the farm community and agri scientists to shun their old perceptions and adopt the model of ZBNF wholeheartedly which would be helpful in changing the present system of chemical farming.

He appreciated the vision and determination of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur for taking initiative to implement natural farming in the state and making a budgetary provision of Rs. 25 crore in a first instance.

He said that time has come to change our mind set and execute ZBNF on the ground instead of doing meetings.

He added that six big camps on natural farming have been organized in different parts of the state during this year and farmers had participated in a large number which shows that the farm community was enthusiastic about it.

Devvrat said lakhs of farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Gurukul farm in Kurukshetra have showed tremendous growth and income up to three fold after adopting natural farming. “The past practice of chemical farming and organic farming was not fit in present context,” he said.

He urged the farmers to rear Indian breed cow to adopt natural farming. He also urged to introduce Indigenous breed of cow like Sahiwal, Lal Sindhi and Dhar Parkar in the state.

Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur said that overdose of fertilisers resulted in soil degradation and rendered fields barren.

He said that these chemical also adversely affected health of people as most of fruits, vegetables and cereals have high contents of harmful chemicals.

He said that the state government was now ensuring effective promotion of natural farming.