Fertilizers are probably one of the most, if not the most, necessary items required when speaking about the farming industry. They are natural or chemical substances that are mixed with soil to render the soil more nutritious and hence make plants grow better.
Nowadays, most farms use chemical-based, synthetically produced fertilizers that can prove harmful for humans. This can be countered by using Organic fertilizers, which are naturally occurring or products of naturally occurring substances that help the soil retain nutrients.
But is it possible for farmers to drop fertilizers altogether and grow crops as they originally occurred in nature?
Farms use fertilizers to help their crops grow better and more qualitative. They help promote plant growth and are cost-effective too. All this being said, we cannot ignore that chemical-based fertilizers can have an adverse effect on human health. Even the use of excessive organic fertilizers is detrimental.
Chemical runoff caused by the use of excessive fertilizer can cause pollution of waterways. The chemicals may react with oxygen in the water, causing fish to die. High application rates of nitrogen-containing fertilizers combined with the high water-solubility of nitrate lead to increased runoff into surface water as well as leaching into groundwater, thereby causing groundwater pollution.
“Phytotoxicity” is caused by misuse or misapplication of chemicals on plants. Excessive use of chemical fertilizers causes yellowing or browning of leaves, damaging the crop and reducing yield.
Increased Air pollution:
Chemical fertilizers are known to release greenhouse gases, such as CO2 and N2O in the atmosphere. This is caused by the use of an amount of fertilizer greater than the plant can absorb.
Acidification of Soil:
Overuse of chemical fertilizers can cause acidification of soil as it causes a decrease in the amount of organic matter in the soil.
It is an increasing concern that chemical fertilizers reduce the natural nutrients in the soil.
“Shizen-Saibai” is a Japanese method of cultivating crops in the harmony of nature, without the use of any sort of fertilizers or pesticides, natural or synthetic. Literally said, it is no-input cultivation. Using this technique, farmers can harvest high-quality produce and get a steady income. Consumers can eat safe vegetable and grains.
It never uses any agricultural chemicals nor chemical/organic fertilizers. Shizensaibai is agriculture, which genuinely links nature’s bounty to human life. The cultivation without agricultural chemicals ensures safety and security. Natural Farming crops taste just nature itself.
Zero Budget Farming is farming that is chemical-free, drawn from traditional Indian practices. It was originally suggested by Padma-Shri recipient Subhash Palekar, who developed it as an alternative to Green Revolution’s methods of using chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
He argued that the debt cycle of farmers can be broken by using easily or freely available alternatives instead of spending money on or taking a loan to get certain inputs. According to an economic survey, over 1.6L farmers are already practising Zero Budget Natural Farming.
The word “budget” here refers to credit and expenses, thus “zero budget” refers to without the use of credit or purchasing any inputs.
Economically feasible farming systems are recognizing no-input farming methods globally. These crops are known to have a higher price than conventionally grown crops due to their limited availability. Techniques like Shizen-Saibai and ZBNF (Zero Budget Natural Farming) are getting recognized.