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National Mission on Natural Farming

  Apr 06, 2023

National Mission on Natural Farming

Q-Why in News?

A-The Government of India has launched the National Mission on Natural Farming (NMNF) as a separate and independent scheme to promote chemical-free and climate-smart agriculture.

Q- What is the National Mission on Natural Farming ?

A-The National Mission on Natural Farming (NMNF) has been formulated by upscaling the Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati (BPKP) to promote natural farming across the country.

  • Coverage:
    • NMNF will cover a 7.5 lakh hectare area by developing 15,000 clusters. The farmers willing to implement natural farming on their field will be registered as cluster members, each cluster shall comprise 50 farmers or more with 50-hectare land.
      • Also, each cluster can fall into one village or spread across 2-3 nearby villages under the same gram panchayat.
  • Financial Assistance:
    • Under NMNF, farmers will receive a financial assistance of ₹15,000 per hectare per year for three years for the creation of on-farm input production infrastructure.
    • However, the incentives would be provided to farmers only when they commit to natural farming and have actually taken it up.
      • If a farmer defaults or does not continue with natural farming, subsequent instalments shall not be disbursed.
  • Web Portal for Implementation Progress:
    • Web portal has also been launched for the promotion of natural farming with information on the implementation framework, resources, implementation progress, farmer’s registration, blog, and so on.
  • Master Trainers:
    • The agriculture ministry is undertaking large-scale training of master trainers, ‘champion’ farmers and practising farmers in the techniques of natural farming through the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE) and National Centre of Organic and Natural Farming (NCONF).
  • Establishment of BRCs:
    • The Centre intends to set up 15,000 Bhartiya Prakritik Kheti Bio-inputs Resources Centres (BRCs) to provide easy access to bio-resources wherein cow dung and urine, neem and bioculture play an important role.
      • These bio-input resource centres would be set up alongside the proposed 15,000 model clusters of natural farming.

Q-What is Natural Farming?

A  -Natural farming is a chemical-free farming method based on locally available resources.

  • It promotes traditional indigenous practices, which give freedom to farmers from externally purchased inputs.
    • The major stress of natural farming is on-farm biomass recycling with biomass mulching, use of on-farm desi cow dung-urine formulation, managing pests through diversity, on-farm botanical concoctions, and exclusion of all synthetic chemical inputs directly or indirectly.

Q - What is it’s Significance?

                 A - Ensures Better Health: As Natural Farming does not use any synthetic chemicals; health     risks and hazards are eliminated.

  • Food has higher nutrition density and therefore offers better health benefits.
    • Increased Farmers’ Income: Natural Farming aims to make farming viable and aspirational by increasing net incomes of farmers on account of cost reduction, reduced risks, similar yields, incomes from intercropping.
    • Rejuvenates Soil Health: The most immediate impact of Natural Farming is on the biology of soil—on microbes and other living organisms such as earthworms.
      • It improves soil health and in turn increases productivity.

Q- What are the Issues?

  • Lack of Irrigation Facility: Only 52% of India's Gross Cropped Area (GCA) is irrigated at the national level. Even though India has made significant strides since independence, many farms still rely on the monsoon for irrigation, limiting their ability to plant more crops.
  • Lack of Readily Availability of Natural Inputs: Farmers often cite the lack of readily available natural inputs as a barrier to converting to chemical-free agriculture. Not every farmer has the time, patience, or labour to develop their own natural inputs.
  • Lack of Crop Diversification: In spite of the rapid commercialization of agriculture in India, most farmers assume cereals will always be their main crop (due to skewed Minimum Support Prices in favour of cereals) and ignore crop diversification.

Other Initiatives to Promote Natural Farming:

  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY):
    • The NMNF is an upscaling of the Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Paddati (BPKP) which is a sub-scheme under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY).
    • PKVY provides financial assistance to farmers who want to adopt organic farming practices and encourages them to use eco-friendly techniques for pest management and soil fertility management.
    • Climate Smart Agriculture:
      • Climate smart agriculture is an integrated approach to managing landscapes-cropland, livestock, forests, and fisheries-that address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change.
      • It aims to tackle three main objectives: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes, adapting and building resilience to climate change, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions wherever possible.