ZBNF Farming request guidelines and consultancy

Good day to all actual farmers, budding ones and the enthusiasts!!

I am an expatriate who will be going home on retirement and want to be a full time farmer. So far, I can only claim to have some book-fed knowledge and would like advice. 

I have bought 8 acres of a hilly land with rubber plantation in Trichur, Kerala and the trees are fit for slaughter now and is ready for replanting next year.  I want to convert the rubber plantation to a multi-crop farming due to several reasons: (a) the shortage of skilled tappers; (b) long time in getting returns from rubber (7-8 years); © inter-cropping not possible between rubber trees; (d) feel more income can be generated if inter-cropping is done.

Thus - I want to go by Palekar’s ZBNF model but the biggest problem is water scarcity in the land.  We plan to dig a bore well and then try drip irrigation.  My questions to farming community are (a) is it possible to do ZBNF 5 layer model with rainwater only or with little water and what is the best model for water-less cultivation?  I will have a small cattleshed (5-6 desi cows) and would like to have a solar fencing around 7 acres - how expensive this could be? Since it is a windy area, solar fencing will be reinforced by natural fencing - what trees can I plant for a natural barrier (teak, bamboo, manchium, mahagonry (rosewood) are suggested. 

1,  Can you give me some guidelines and details of people who do solar fencing in Kerala
2.  What rainwater harvesting models can I do in a hilly region… any details of personnel who can do that for me.

I will be attending ZBNF 1 week course in February and hope to understand more of this and will update you all on what I gained… in the meantime any creative suggestions are welcome.  Thank you one and all. Regards. Jayan

Please find attached schedule of zero budget natural farming training by Subhash Paleker. Please contact respective people if anyone is interested.
Workshop Dates[1].pdf (9.73 KB)

Thank you sir, as said in my last paragraph, I am attending ZBNF Course in Feb in Nilambur.  But since it could be more of a theory, I am seeking guidelines from who has practical experience.

We have found out a list of farmers around bangalore and visited them see below contacts. Unfortunately I dont have any contacts from kerala.
farmnest.com/forum/sharing-meets … trail!/60/

Also check below link for Fukuoka method farmers

Thanks Sri - I want to move away from rubber (mainly because of scarcity of tappers) and I feel we could better utilise the area by multicrops - it could bring as much benefit, or more, if i go multi-layer cropping.  The only problem is water… I have to do something about it. Thanks. jayan


Where will i be able to get Jeevamritam and Agni Astram or Neemastram in Bangalore prepared in Palekar model? I have a terrace vegetable garden in Bangalore where the plant growth is affected by pest attack.

Dear Jayan,
Good to hear that you attend the Nilambur session of ZBNF directly from Subhash Palekar.

Excited to know the details of the program. Was it useful to you as a beginner? or is it good to attend such sessions after having some experience? just curious.

Was it a workshop inside closed doors or was it in a farm with hands-on experience.

Me too from Trichur and just a beginner in farming…looking forward to retire early from current assignments and explore organic farming…


Thanks Rakesh - I suspect we have a mutual friend - Shibin Kumar of HDFC

Of the three weeks vacation, I had to stay away from family for 1 week; but I came to know many people, the different way they apply these techniques etc.

We have been doing the Palekar model on our 2.25 acres of land with three desi cows (and three cross-breeds) for the last three years (after my wife attended Palekarji’s course).  We are getting good results on banana, nutmeg, arecanut etc. but our coconut yield was not positive. I wanted to know if we are doing something wrong (we were, not enough mulching, no mix of dicot and monocot plant in the proper ratio and a bit more watering than necessary).  Thus it was good for me.

This was a workshop (more like a party plenum) with around 750 attendees from different spheres of society (people who resigned from IT and new to agriculture; professional agriculturists, farmers and normal workers, Kudumba Shree people, etc).  Palekar’s philosophy is (which I dont completely follow), be vegetarian, follow God’s (Nature’s) way rather than agricultural scientists way, follow HIS signs (e.g. how a forest is so full of great export quality yielding fruits w/o any human intervention) and bring it to our farm.  He says with just one desi cow, we can cultivate 30 acres of land - as jeevamrutham is not a fertiliser, but a culture which helps beneficial microorganisms grow and wakes up the earthworm buried beneath in hibernation who ploughs our land free of cost.

From my experience so far, it seems just one desi cow for 30 acre land is bit outlandish - even for our 2.5 acre land, we find that 3 desi cows is not enough.  Apart from Jeevamritham, Ghan Jeevamritham (for which main constitutents are cow dung and urine), we need to put dung to short-term crops for best results.  When we compare forest to farm, I think there is a big difference - most of the forest fruits are not harvested; and I suspect if these are harvested periodically, the forest will also suffer.  Thus we need to put in a lot more than Palekarji claims, and in addition most of our land are barren due to constant application of fertilisers and pesticides.  To overcome these, more natural inputs are required.

I suggest you buy some of his books, read it as a bible/geetha, then go attend the class and you will get immense benefits.



Thanks Jayan for posting on your experience with the ZBNF sessions…I had a doubt that we indirectly know each other before I put across my first post…sure…I want to buy all those books…there is lot to learn getting oneself dirty before attending such wonderful sessions from Palekarji himself…some how I admire him eventhough I don’t know him personally…
I don’t have any comments on Palekarji’s model as I have not practised it till now. But I want to try that when I’ll have a piece of land myself :slight_smile:
We try to do experiments and learning on our small piece of terrace garden in bangalore.
looking forward to meet you in person…

Rakesh KK

contact cowherd in this forum, he is an experienced coffee grower from kerala, and any of the bloggers from kerala below. lots of organic activity in wayanad and palakkad.




soundcloud.com/krishna-visvanat … nic-farmer


ofai.org/wp-content/uploads/2011 … Kerala.pdf


Zero budget, is marketing concept. Do you get free books, free inputs, free workshop? I hope by zero you mean no expense. As in UAE & now in India The technique works as " IT IS FREE & YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR IT". if you want to learn the farming &  do it naturally; then go to that OLD village farmer. trust him more on the local OLD men who is not a NGO but actual farmer.
My friend be care full you have still to learn farming. It is costly a hobby.
As a professional consultant & farmer since last 47 years I suggest to you to go organic; but for ZBNF I can tell you to enjoy the literature!

Looks like you did not understand jeeamrutham. What it is? and who to use it?
Jevamrutham is a culture and not used as a fertilizer. Mulch is very important for jeeamrutham to work. If you are using old style cowdung as fertilizer, this is not the way this works.