Concept & Scenario


Natural Farming is a chemical-free farming system rooted in Indian tradition enriched with modern understanding of ecology, resource recycling and on-farm resource optimization. It is considered as agroecology based diversified farming system which integrates crops, trees and livestock with functional biodiversity. It is largely based on on-farm biomass recycling with major stress on biomassmulching, use of on-farm cow dung-urine formulations; maintaining soil aeration and exclusion of all synthetic chemical inputs. Natural farming is expected to reduce dependency on purchased inputs. It is considered as a cost- effective farming practice with scope for increasing employment and rural development.


Many states are already fallowing natural farming and have developed successful models. State of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala are among the leading states. Currently, the acceptance and adoption of natural farming systems are at early stages and gradually gaining acceptance among the farming community.

Natural farming Practices

Natural farming aims at restoring soil health, maintenance of diversity, ensure animal welfare, stress on efficient use of natural/local resources and promote ecological fairness. Natural farming is an ecological farming approach where farming system

works with the natural biodiversity, encouraging the soil’s biological activity and managing the complexity of living organisms both plant and animal to thrive along with food production system.Important practices, essential for adoption of natural farming includes:
No external inputs,
• Local seeds (use of local varieties), .
• On-farm produced microbial formulation for seed treatment (such as bijamrita),
• On-farm made microbial inoculants (Jivamrita) for soil enrichment,
• Cover crops and mulching with green and dry organic matter for nutrient recycling and for creating a suitable micro-climate for maximum beneficial microbial activity in soil.
• Mixed cropping,
• Managing diversity on farm through integration of trees
• Management of pests through diversity and local on-farm made botanical concoctions (such as neemastra, agniastra, neem ark, dashparni ark etc);
• Integration of livestock, especially of native breed for cow dung and cow urine as essential inputs for several practices and
• Water and moisture conservation.

Aims and Objectives for Natural Farming promotion:
• Preserve natural flora and fauna
• Restore soil health and fertility and soil’s biological life
• Maintain diversity in crop production
• Efficient utilization of land and natural resources (light, air, water)
• Promote natural beneficial insects, animals and microbes in soil for nutrient recycling and biological control of pests and diseases
• Promotion of local breeds forlivestock integration
• Use of natural / local resource-based inputs
• Reduce input cost of agricultural production
• Improve economics of farmers

Current Scenario of Natural Farming in India

Many states have taken up initiatives for natural farming promotion Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are among the leading states. As of now more than 10 lakh ha. area is covered under natural farming in India.


Definition of Natural Farming

“Natural Farming is a chemical-free traditional farming method. It is considered as an agroecology based diversified farming system which integrates crops, trees and livestock with functional biodiversity”-Niti Ayog Natural farming is a system where the laws of nature are applied to agricultural practices. This method works along with the natural biodiversity of each farmed area, encouraging the complexity of living organisms, both plants, and animals that shape each particular ecosystem to thrive along with food plants. Natural Farming builds on natural or ecological processes that exist in or around farms.


Can be achieved through following specific principles:

  1. Adoption of diversified cropping system-based agriculture
  2. Recycling of naturally available nutrients in fields
  3. Recycling of on-farm generated biomass
  4. Use of locally developed and refined practices based on plant, animal and microbial source as raw materials
  5. Innovative practices continuously evolve on the field of farmers based on the cropping pattern, local climatic conditions, altitude, soil quality, severity and variability of insects and pests etc.

Scope of Natural Farming

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. Natural Farming improves soil fertility, environmental health as well as helps in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and also promises the enhancement of farmer’s income. In broad terms, Natural Farming can be considered as a prominent strategy to save the planet Earth for future generations. It has the potential to manage the various farmland practices and hence sequester the atmospheric carbon in the soils and plants, to make it available for plants.

Importance of Natural Farming

Several studies have reported the effectiveness of natural farming in terms of increase in production, sustainability, saving of water use, improvement in soil health and farmland ecosystem. It is considered as a cost- effective farming practices with scope for raising employment and rural development. Natural Farming offers a solution to various problems, such as food insecurity, farmers’ distress, and health problems arising due to pesticide and fertilizer residue in food and water, global warming, climate change and natural calamities. It also has the potential to generate employment, thereby stemming the migration of rural youth. Natural Farming, as the name suggests, is the art, practice and, increasingly, the science of working with nature to achieve much more with less.

Benefits of Natural Farming

  1. Improve Yield Farmers practicing Natural Farming reported similar yields to those following conventional farming. In several cases, higher yields per harvest were also reported.
  2. Ensures Better Health:- As Natural Farming does not use any synthetic chemicals, health risks and hazards are eliminated. The food has higher nutrition density and therefore offers better health benefits.
  3. Environment Conservation:-Natural Farming ensures better soil biology, improved agro-biodiversity and a more judicious usage of water with much smaller carbon and nitrogen footprints.
  4. 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.
  5. Employment Generation

  1. Natural farming generates employment on account of natural farming input enterprises, value addition, marketing in local areas, etc. The surplus from natural farming is invested in the village itself.
  2. Reduced Water Consumption:-By working with diverse crops that help each other and cover the soil to prevent unnecessary water loss through evaporation, Natural Farming optimizes the amount of ‘crop per drop’.
  3. Minimized Cost of Production:-Natural Farming aims to drastically cut down production costs by encouraging farmers to prepare essential biological inputs using on-farm, natural and homegrown resources.

  1. Eliminates Application of Synthetic Chemical Inputs
  2. The overuse of synthetic fertilizers, especially urea, pesticides, herbicides, weedicides etc. alters soil biology and soil structure, with subsequent loss of soil organic carbon and fertility.
  3. Rejuvenates Soil Health
  4. The most immediate impact of Natural Farming is on the biology of soil—on microbes and other living organisms such as earthworms. Soil health depends entirely on the living organisms in it.
  5. Livestock Sustainability
  6. The integration of livestock in the farming system plays an important role in Natural farming and helps in restoring the ecosystem. Eco-friendly bio-inputs, such as Jeevamrit and Beejamrit, are prepared from cow dung and urine, and other natural products.

The world of Natural Farming- Cattle and non-Cattle based

The cattle-based farming is cow-based farming which is considered as boon for sustainable agriculture. Cow-based farming results in the conservation of natural resources, soil, water and lives. Even the water and electricity requirements are reduced by 90% in this manner, lowering the cultivation cost to a bare minimum. This method would also utilize only 10% of the irrigation water in the farming practice. Also, because there is less power consumption, there is less pollution and also there are several advantages to embracing cow-based farming.

Current Scenario of Natural Farming in India

There are several states practicing Natural Farming. Prominent among them are Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Till now 6.5 lakh ha. area is covered under natural farming in India. Different State governments are promoting natural farming through various schemes.

Andhra Pradesh

The Government of Andhra Pradesh turned to farming approaches that are in harmony with nature, as they build on ecological science, rather than input economics. By improving the ecological conditions in each and every site, it is witnessed that Natural Farming reduces the need for synthetic inputs and deliver instead a form of farming that costs less, in financial terms, and is climate resilient.

The Andhra Pradesh Community-Managed Natural Farming (APCNF)

This programme is being implemented by Rythu Sadhikara Samstha (RySS), a not-for-profit company established by the Department of Agriculture, Government of Andhra Pradesh. RySS’s mandate is to plan and implement programmes for the empowerment and all-round welfare of farmers.

Gujarat:- In Budget 2020–21, special financial assistance was announced for promoting Natural Farming practices under the Gujarat Atma Nirbhar package. Further, on 17 September 2020, two schemes were launched—Sat Pagala Khedut Kalyaan and Pagala for Natural Farming—by the Government of Gujarat. Details of Scheme 1: Rs 900 monthly subsidy for the maintenance cost of one cow to a farming family practising Natural Farming. Details of Scheme 2: Provision of Rs 1248 subsidy to farmers for purchase of a Natural Farming kit to prepare Jeevamrit.

Himachal Pradesh :- Himachal Pradesh practices Natural Farming under the Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Kissan (PK3) Yojana. The scheme aims to reduce the cost of cultivation and enhance farmers’ income. The scheme was announced by the Chief Minister in the Budget speech of 2018–19. The scheme seeks to promote the production of food grains, vegetables, and fruits without the use of synthetic chemicals/pesticides and fertilizers. The scheme went beyond its target of covering 500 farmers to 2669 in 2018– 19. By 2019–20, 54,914 farmers were practicing Natural Farming on 2,451 hectares of land. The scheme has now targeted to bring more farmers under its ambit and cover 20,000 hectares.

Rajasthan :- Honourable Chief Minister of Rajasthan during the budget speech of FY2019-20 declared support to natural farming to reduce input costs with a view to empower farmers through remunerative agriculture – Kheti Mein Jaan Toh Sashakt Kisan. The scheme in the form of a pilot project was initiated in three districts of the State viz. Tonk, Sirohi and Banswada. Under the scheme, 18,313 farmers were trained in a two-day long workshop conducted by master-trainers of the Department. 10,658 farmers were provided with drums, buckets, jugs and sprayers at a subsidy of up to 50% of their costs but limited to Rs 600 per farmer for preparing the organic inputs.

Fig. Major states in India practicing Natural Farming (Source: NITI Aayog) Prospects and challenges of Natural Farming

NITI Aayog is among the foremost promoters of natural farming Multi-location studies are imperative for the scientific validation, its long-term impact and viability of the model promoting it country-wide. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research is also studying the Natural Farming methods practiced by basmati and wheat farmers in Modipuram (Uttar Pradesh), Ludhiana (Punjab), Pantnagar (Uttarakhand) and Kurukshetra (Haryana), evaluating the impact on productivity, economics and soil health including soil organic carbon and soil fertility. Recently Andhra Pradesh Government Launch Indo German Global Academy for Agro ecology Research and learning (IGGAARL) at Pulivendula on 7th July 2022. As per the study, India which holds almost 20 % of the world population has consumption of only 1 % organic produce of the total organic produce. Whereas India itself is the country with the largest farmlands in the world. It suggests that there is a lot of hindrances being faced by organic food products whether obtained organically or naturally in the Indian market. A proper market infrastructure is yet to establish for selling of the produce and awareness among the farmers is required for proper implementation of all the schemes that are promoting the Natural Farming in India.

Prospects and challenges of Natural Farming