Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India once said: “Everything can wait, but not agriculture.” That is something that should have been the motto for the progress of India. Yet, good governments fail to give agriculture the priority that it deserves. The suicide of a farmer during an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rally brought forth the agrarian crisis out into the open.
According to National Crime Records Bureau data, as many as 2,70,940 farmers have killed themselves in the country since 1995. Looking at the issue from the farmer’s perspective, it was mostly due to debts and other financial issues. According to Subash Palekar, an organic agriculturist who practises zero-budget farming: “There is no need for farmers to end their lives if they practice zero-budget natural farming.” Palekar argues that farmers could cultivate over 30 acres of land with just one cow or buffalo. By doing so, the farmers do not need to spend money on fertilisers or pesticides. They can also save 90 per cent on water and power by simply using this method.
In addition, the crop yields will increase because they would not be using any chemical fertilisers, thus the price of the produce can be doubled due to the ever increasing demand for organic crops. This method helps replenish the soil’s mineral content and increases the fertility due to the use of fresh manure.
After a survey conducted on farmers who practiced zero-budget farming, there was a 90 per cent reduction in the use of water and power as well as a reduction in the number of suicides.
Zero-budget farming is not to be confused with livestock farming because livestock farming is associated with the increase of global warming while zero-budget farming does not contribute to global warming at all. I strongly believe that embracing these methods can bring about great changes in India in terms of agriculture.
— The reader is an Indian student based in Sharjah