Father of Indian Organic Farming


In a world grappling with environmental challenges and concerns over food safety, the importance of sustainable and organic farming practices has become increasingly evident. Among the pioneers who have led the charge in advocating for such methods is Subhash Palekar, a name synonymous with Indian organic farming. Often referred to as the “Father of Indian Organic Farming,” Palekar’s revolutionary approach to agriculture has left an indelible mark on India’s farming landscape. Through his innovative techniques, relentless advocacy, and remarkable contributions, Palekar has earned his place as a visionary in the realm of sustainable agriculture.

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Early Life and Inspiration

Subhash Palekar was born on February 2, 1949, in Belora, a small village in Maharashtra, India. Raised in an agricultural family, Palekar developed an early affinity for farming and the land. His upbringing immersed him in the traditional practices of Indian agriculture, which were primarily organic in nature. The wisdom imparted by his parents and grandparents, coupled with his personal experiences, laid the foundation for his later revolutionary ideas in farming.

Palekar’s inspiration to revisit traditional practices came from his realization that modern agriculture, marked by excessive use of chemicals, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers, was having a detrimental impact on both soil health and human health. His desire to restore the natural balance between ecosystems and human intervention prompted him to delve deeper into the concept of organic farming.

The Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) Technique

At the heart of Subhash Palekar’s contributions to Indian agriculture lies his groundbreaking technique known as Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF). This innovative approach emphasizes a harmonious relationship between crops, livestock, and nature, while minimizing external inputs and maximizing self-sufficiency. ZBNF revolves around the concept of “Jivamrita,” a concoction of cow dung, cow urine, jaggery, pulse flour, and water, which serves as a natural fertilizer and pesticide. This preparation enhances soil fertility, promotes microbial activity, and reduces the dependence on costly chemical inputs.

Palekar’s ZBNF method also emphasizes the importance of cover crops, mulching, and crop rotation to improve soil structure and fertility. By integrating diverse plant species and reducing the reliance on monoculture, the approach helps prevent pests and diseases, while simultaneously promoting sustainability.

Impact and Advocacy

Subhash Palekar’s advocacy for Zero Budget Natural Farming quickly gained traction across India and beyond. Farmers disillusioned by the adverse effects of modern agricultural practices found hope and a viable alternative in his teachings. His workshops, seminars, and books resonated with a wide range of stakeholders, from small-scale farmers to policymakers.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Palekar’s work is its inclusivity. ZBNF is accessible to farmers regardless of their economic status, as it eliminates the need for costly external inputs. This democratization of sustainable farming has contributed to rural empowerment and poverty alleviation, aligning with India’s development goals.

Challenges and Criticisms

While Subhash Palekar’s ZBNF method has garnered widespread acclaim, it hasn’t been without its fair share of challenges and criticisms. Some critics argue that a complete departure from chemical inputs may not be feasible for all types of crops and farming systems. Others raise concerns about the scalability of ZBNF, particularly in the context of feeding a growing global population.

Furthermore, the transition from conventional farming to organic practices requires a significant shift in mindset and approach. Farmers accustomed to the convenience of chemical inputs may be skeptical about adopting a wholly new method. Addressing these challenges involves not only refining the techniques but also conducting widespread awareness campaigns and providing robust support mechanisms for farmers.

Legacy and Future Prospects

Subhash Palekar’s legacy extends beyond his pioneering farming techniques. His advocacy for sustainable agriculture and holistic ecosystems has led to a broader discussion about the interconnectedness of human activities, nature, and the environment. By emphasizing the importance of traditional knowledge, biodiversity, and self-sufficiency, Palekar has inspired a new generation of farmers, researchers, and policymakers to rethink their approach to agriculture.

As the global community grapples with the urgency of climate change and environmental degradation, Palekar’s ideas remain highly relevant. The principles of Zero Budget Natural Farming align with broader sustainable development goals, offering a roadmap to mitigate the negative impacts of agriculture on the planet.

Nurturing Sustainable Agriculture: Exploring the Books of Subhash Palekar

Subhash Palekar, renowned as the “Father of Indian Organic Farming,” has left an indelible mark on agriculture through his pioneering techniques and innovative ideas. Beyond his practical demonstrations and workshops, Palekar has also shared his wealth of knowledge through his books. These books not only provide valuable insights into his revolutionary Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) techniques but also serve as comprehensive guides for farmers seeking to transition to sustainable and organic practices.

1.”Zero Budget Natural Farming – Five Layer Palekar’s Model”

Considered a seminal work in the field of sustainable agriculture, this book dives deep into Palekar’s revolutionary Zero Budget Natural Farming technique. It elucidates the five-layer model, comprising of “Beejamrita” (seed treatment), “Jeevamrita” (microbial culture), “Mulching,” “Whapasa” (soil aeration), and “Waaphasa” (pruned leaves as fertilizer). Each layer is meticulously explained, offering readers a step-by-step guide to implementing ZBNF on their farms. The book is not only informative but also inspirational, motivating farmers to adopt organic practices for healthier soil and higher yields.

2.”Subhash Palekar’s Philosophy for Agriculture & Civilisation”

In this thought-provoking book, Subhash Palekar delves into the philosophical underpinnings of his approach to agriculture. He emphasizes the importance of harmonizing human activities with the natural world, showcasing the deep connection between agricultural practices and the overall well-being of society. Palekar’s philosophy challenges the prevalent paradigm of chemical-intensive farming and champions a holistic view of agriculture that considers ecological, social, and ethical dimensions. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking a broader understanding of the implications of modern farming practices on the environment and human health.

3.”Spiritual Thoughts in Natural Farming”

Subhash Palekar goes beyond the technical aspects of farming in this book, delving into the spiritual and ethical dimensions of agriculture. He explores the interplay between spirituality, nature, and sustainable farming practices, advocating for a mindful and conscientious approach to cultivation. This book resonates with those who seek to cultivate not just crops, but also a deep sense of connection with the land and a profound understanding of the cycles of nature.

4.”Jeevamrita Darshan (Marathi)”

For readers fluent in Marathi, Palekar’s “Jeevamrita Darshan” offers a comprehensive exploration of his famous Jeevamrita preparation. The book goes into great detail about the components, proportions, and application methods of Jeevamrita, a key ingredient in his ZBNF technique. It serves as a valuable resource for those who want an in-depth understanding of this crucial aspect of organic farming.

5.”Baliraja (Marathi)”

Subhash Palekar’s commitment to the welfare of farmers extends beyond just farming techniques. “Baliraja,” written in Marathi, focuses on empowering small-scale farmers and addressing the challenges they face. The book highlights the importance of self-reliance, sustainable practices, and community cooperation to uplift rural communities. It offers practical advice and strategies to improve the livelihoods of farmers while preserving the environment.



Subhash Palekar’s journey from a small village in Maharashtra to becoming the Father of Indian Organic Farming serves as an inspiring example of how a deep connection to the land, combined with innovative thinking, can bring about transformative change. His Zero Budget Natural Farming technique has not only improved soil health and agricultural productivity but has also ignited a movement towards sustainable and holistic farming practices. While challenges remain, Palekar’s legacy and contributions continue to guide the path toward a more environmentally conscious and sustainable future for Indian agriculture.

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