Masanobu Fukuoka is considered as a father of Modern-day Natural Farming. Natural farming, also referred to as ‘The Fukuoka Method’, ‘The Natural Way of Farming’ or ‘Do-Nothing Farming’, is an ecological farming approach established by Masanobu Fukuoka (1913–2008). Fukuoka, a Japanese Farmer and Philosopher, introduced the term in his book (1975) ‘The One-Straw Revolution’. The farmers themselves pointed out the reasons behind the adverse agrarian scenario as higher doses of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and cultivating single crop every year. To tackle the distress conditions, The Bajaj Foundation rolled out a strategy called Subhash Palekar Natural Farming (SPNF) to promote climate-resilient cropping pattern. He is also known as Father of Natural Farming in India. Sh. Palekar received fourth highest civilian award Padma shri in 2016 from Government of India and became first active Indian Farmer.
Natural Farming is a chemical-free agroecology based diversified farming system which integrates crops, trees and livestock with functional biodiversity. In India, natural farming is encouraged through the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), a government-sponsored programme, as the Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati Programme (BPKP). The BPKP aims to promote traditional indigenous practises that need less inputs from outside sources. It is mostly predicated on the recycling of biomass inside the farm, with a focus on biomass mulching, the use of cow dung-urine formulations within the farm, periodic soil aeration, and the avoidance of any synthetic chemical inputs. The HLPE Report states that natural farming will lessen the need for purchased inputs and will lessen the burden of debt on smallholder farmers. The components/pillars of Natural Farming are given below.
- To preserve natural flora and fauna
- To restore soil health and fertility and soil’s biological life
- To maintain diversity in crop production
- To utilize land and natural resources (light, air, water) efficiently
- To promote natural beneficial insects, animals and microbes in soil for nutrient recycling and biological control of pests and diseases
- To promote local breeds for livestock integration
- To use of natural/local resource-based inputs
- To reduce input cost of agricultural production
- To improve economics of farmers
Salient achievements of the project: