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Subhash Palekar’s Mission to Awaken the Light of Natural Farming

Man has been involved in agriculture since he realised that new plants grow from seeds. Since then, he has made agriculture his way of life, which has altered through time. Due to the green revolution, the farmers who used to farm in harmony with nature became greedy. Our agriculture eventually perished due to poor soil quality, low yields and other reasons. As a result, rubber plantations and other similar agricultural activities replaced our golden fields.

Subhash Palekar is an Indian agriculturist, an author and the father of Zero Budget Natural Farming. He is an agriculturalist brought up in the small village of Belora in Maharashtra. With a background in agriculture, Palekar engaged in pesticide-free natural farming practices as part of his Zero Budget Natural Farming. He has held numerous workshops around India.

Father of Zero-budget natural farming

Zero-budget natural farming is a type of farming where there is no cost involved in growing and harvesting plants. Therefore, producers won’t need to spend money on pesticides and fertilisers to ensure the healthy growth of crops. When Palekar realised how devastating chemical farming was, he sought less destructive options.


Palekar defines natural farming as utilising components that are derived from the environment. All the elements required for plant growth are readily available around the plant’s root zone. There are four practises that natural farming adheres to, according to Palekar. They are ‘Beejamrutham’, ‘Jeevamrutham’,’ Achhadana’, and ‘Waaphasa’. Benefits of ZBNF include zero investment, higher quality yield, a healthy life, poison-free food, and a debt-free society.


Palekar received his graduation in agriculture from Nagpur’s Agricultural College. After learning about pesticides and synthetic fertilisers in college, he started using them on his farm. He experimented with innovative farming techniques from 1972 to 1990 while working and penning numerous media articles on agriculture.

He observed that yields increased with artificial fertilisers, but agricultural production from the same fields declined after that. He set out to discover an explanation for this and concluded that the theory behind agriculture, which promoted chemical fertilisers, was wrong. Then, the errors of the green revolution became apparent. In this way, he started researching alternative farming and evolved and propagated his farming methods.

Area of Research 

Mr Subhash Palekar spent six years researching the forest’s natural systems from 1989 to 1995 and verifying their functioning. During this time, he conducted around 154 research projects. After six years of proven study, his collection of techniques emerged as ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming’.

Books On  Zero-budget natural farming

Palekar served as a member of the editorial board of Bali Raja, a renowned Marathi agricultural magazine published in Pune, Maharashtra, till 1998. He has authored over 20 Marathi language books along with 4 English and 3 Hindi works. The Philosophy of Spiritual Farming? (Part 1), The Principles of Spiritual Farming (Part 2), The Symbiosis of Spiritual Farming (Part 2), The Techniques of Spiritual Farming (Part 4), Five Layer Palekar Models (Part I),) Five Layer Palekar Models (Part II), Is Organic Farming a Conspiracy, Vegetable crops in Zero Budget Spiritual Farming, Spices Plantation in Zero Budget Spiritual Farming are some of his books regarding Zero Budget Natural Farming.

Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Project

In addition to lowering its reliance on chemical fertilisers and pesticides, Kerala has adopted Subhash Palekar’s chemical-free agriculture techniques to boost productivity while lessening the effects of climate change and revitalising farms. The “Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Project” (Kerala Agro-Ecology Based Biodiversity Conservation) was put into place in 2021 on roughly 25,000 hectares with assistance from the Central and State Governments as part of the promotion of Prakriti Agriculture.

Subhash Palekar 5 layer model

Subash Palekar’s most popular model is the five-layer model. It is a self-sustaining model and agroforestry concept made up of trees with several levels of plant canopies, with each layer at the perfect height to harvest sunlight. It has different crop and tree combinations, living fences around the edges, and water collection trenches.


The state of Andhra Pradesh chose Subhash Palekar as its advisor on zero-budget farming on June 14, 2017, to promote organic farming. State governments of Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh adopted Palekar’s methods. Palekar presented Zero-budget natural farming to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He received  Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour, in 2016, from the Government of India.

Subhash Palekar is advancing his ideas through Zero Budget Natural Farming as a solution to problems such as increases in the cost of production, low production and productivity, degradation of natural resources and farmer’s suicide. Over 30 million farmers in India practise Zero Budget Natural Farming. He uses manures and agroecology in his distinctive approach to farming. He distributes learning materials to farming communities across India through ongoing workshops and seminars. Through his inventions, he encourages climate-resilient agriculture, a method of growing wholesome food to preserve our planet and ourselves in good health.

Credits and References