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Natural Farming and Organic Farming

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Natural Farming and Organic Farming


  • Natural farming is a method in which agricultural practices are guided by natural laws.
  • Natural farming is an ecological farming approach established by Masanobu Fukuoka (1913–2008), a Japanese farmer and philosopher, introduced in his 1975 book The One-Straw Revolution.
  • This strategy works in tandem with the natural biodiversity of each farmed area, allowing the complexity of living species, both flora, and fauna, that create each ecosystem to thrive alongside food plants.
  • Masanobu Fukuoka and Mokichi Okada developed “Natural Farming,” which is “a farming approach that imitates the way of nature.”
  • It’s referred to as “do-nothing farming” or “the natural approach of farming.”
  • Organic farming is a holistic approach that aims to maximize the production and fitness of diverse communities in the agro-ecosystem such as soil organisms, plants, livestock, and people.
  • The primary purpose of organic farming is to create businesses that are both sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Similarities Between Organic and Natural Farming:

  • Both natural and organic farming methods are chemical-free and, to a large extent, poison-free.
  • Both systems restrict farmers from using chemical fertilizers and pesticides on plants, as well as from engaging in any other agricultural practices.
  • Farmers are encouraged to use local seed breeds and native cultivars of vegetables, cereals, legumes, as well as other crops in both farming methods.
  • Nonchemical and homemade pest control solutions are promoted by organic and natural farming methods.

 Differences between Organic and Natural Farming:

  • Organic fertilizers and manures, such as compost, vermicompost, and cow dung manure, are utilized and applied to farmlands in organic farming.
  • Natural farming does not use chemical or organic fertilizers on the soil. In reality, no additional nutrients are put into the soil or given to the plants.
  • Natural farming encourages the breakdown of organic matter by microorganisms and earthworms right on the soil surface, gradually adding nutrients to the soil over time.
  • Plowing, tilting, mixing manure, weeding, and other fundamental agro activities are still required in organic farming.
  • There is no plowing, no soil tilting, no fertilizers, and no weeding in natural farming, precisely as it would be in natural ecosystems.
  • Natural agriculture is an extremely low-cost farming method that completely molds with local wildlife.
  • Organic farming is still costlier due to the necessity of bulk manures, and it has an ecological footprint on the surrounding.
  • There are many working models of natural farming all over the world, the zero budget natural farming (ZBNF) is the most popular model in India.
  • This comprehensive, natural, and spiritual farming system is developed by Padma Shri Subhash Palekar.

Features of Zero budget natural farming (ZBNF):

  • Commercial level farming can be done in almost zero budget only by using locally available and farm-based resources.
  • According to ZBNF principles, plants get 98% of their supply of nutrients from the air, water, and sunlight.
  • And the remaining 2% can be fulfilled by good quality soil with plenty of friendly microorganisms. (Just like in forests and natural systems)
  • Soil microclimate: The soil is always supposed to be covered with an organic mulch, which creates humus and encourages the growth of friendly microorganisms.
  • Desi cow: The system requires cow dung and cow urine (Gomutra) obtained from Indian breed cow only.
  • Desi cow is apparently the purest as far as the microbial content of cow dung, and urine goes.
  • Cultures: A farm made bio-culture named ‘Jeevamrutha’ is added to the soil instead of any fertilizers to improve microflora of soil.
  • Jeevamrutha is derived from very little cow dung and cow urine of desi cow breed.
  • Natural, farm-made pesticides like Dashparni ark and Neem Astra are used to control pests and diseases.
  • Weeds are considered essential and used as living or dead mulch layer.
  • In ZBNF, multi-cropping is encouraged over single crop method.

Syllabus: Prelims + Mains; GS III – Agriculture

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