A meeting to deliberate ZBNF with the states was held on 28 February 2019 under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar. This meeting was a continuation of a national consultation-cum-conference to discuss the concept of ZBNF held on 9 July 2018 in NITI Aayog. The consultation underscored the importance of focusing on the implementation of this model. Representatives from each state presented and discussed the different practices followed in their states and their vision to expand the practices of ZBNF. Different ideas and suggestions were also put forward for the implementation of ZBNF in farmers’ fields.

States were asked to adopt this model and invite Padma Shri–awardee Shri Subhash Palekar to train the farmers. Further, state agricultural universities and ICAR were requested to join this social movement and make concerted efforts to promote this practice across the country. NITI Aayog urged agricultural universities in Karnataka, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh to test the soil quality, moisture content and carbon content at the earliest.

The following were the outcome of the discussions: (i) preparation of an evidence-based communication strategy on ZBNF—by sharing short videos (in regional languages) of farmers practising this model; (ii) launch of a national mission to promote ZBNF in different agro-climatic zones that will lay down strategies for specific crops, seasons and regions; (iii) initiate pilots to test this model in 1–5 villages within each block; (iv) institute a certification process for ZBNF for better price realization in the market; (v) constitute a team of senior and renowned scientists to examine the weaknesses and validate the results of this practice, and (vi) establish a protocol to measure the output of ZBNF so that states can be assured to implement it.


DAC&FW, ICAR, and DARE were given the responsibility of executing these issues. It was concluded that ZBNF is a social movement, and the government should lead it. It was also decided that scientific validation of this practice and its scaling up in all states must be done simultaneously. The attendees called for a chemical-free India.

NITI Aayog identified three Aspirational Districts—Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh; Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh; and Pakur, Jharkhand—for promoting the Subhash Palekar Natural Farming (SPNF) system through pilots. Accordingly, ITC initiated the process for identifying 10–15 interested farmers in these districts.

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