Texmo Industries Est. 1956

Natural Farming

Natural farming in India seems to have made massive strides in the agricultural sector. Natural farming promotes:

  • Chemical-free farming systems

  • Use of traditional knowledge

  • Resource recycling / optimisation

  • Agroecology practices

Natural farming, as the term denotes, stands for a method of farming where farmers adhere to natural methods of farming. The genesis of this type of farming is credited to Masanobu Fukuoka and his book titled, The One Straw Revolution.

What does natural farming entail?
At the heart of natural farming lies a rejection of most modern technology and adoption of a method which works with the natural biodiversity of a region. Many times, the term ‘natural farming’ is interchangeable with sustainable agriculture, organic farming, and agroecology.

Few of the main principles of natural farming are:

  • Usage of local seeds

  • No external inputs such as ploughing, chemicals, mechanical techniques and so on

  • Using microbial formulations produced on the farm for soil health

  • Mixed cropping

  • Integration of livestock management with crop production

Benefits of natural farming
Natural farming works with nature and local biodiversity in a harmonious manner to produce crops. This technique results in many benefits to the farmers, consumers, and to the soil that is supporting the production of crops.

Higher nutrition and healthier crops: when chemical inputs are eliminated completely from the fields, the crops retain better nutrition, and prevent health problems in consumers.

Resource optimisation: soil erosion, wastage of water, and the farm ecosystem – all of them are looked after in natural farming systems.

Cost-effective: farmers can enjoy a significant lowering of their input expenses (machines, fertilisers, seeds bought from elsewhere etc) because natural farming promotes nil-inputs mechanism.

Environmental impact: when farmers are looking to Nature to supply the essential inputs, they are working with Nature and not against it and this has a positive impact on the environment.

Employment opportunities: rural employment, and financial health of small farmers also improves with natural farming. Employment opportunities can be available throughout the supply chain – production, distribution, and retail of natural farming produce.

Farmer carrying stack of grass across a field

Natural farming also results in better yields. Take the example of Andhra Pradesh’s Community-Based Natural Farming initiative. Farmers implemented natural farming for crops such as maize, rice, millets, and red grams. They saw a 49% net increase in their income.

Natural farming techniques have indeed shown immense benefits to the farmers, and to the consumers at large. In India, natural farming rests on techniques such as:

  • Beejamrit which is seed treatment using cow dung, and lime-based formulations

  • Jivamrit which is using pulses, and cow dung to increase soil fertility

  • Mulching which uses local trees, and plants as mulch to enhance soil moisture

  • Whapasa which activates earthworms to increase soil health

  • Biological solutions and concoctions to prevent pests

  • Ghanjivamrit fertilisers made from organic manure

Natural farming in India is helping to combat low productivity due to factors such as depleted soil resources, climate change, pests, poor water supply, and disruptions in supporting infrastructure for agricultural produce. If natural farming gives farmers the opportunity to be climate-resilient, and gives customers the chance to consume healthier food, then that must be virtually the only case that needs to be made in support of natural farming.