Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, June 17, 2024

Delegation from Zambia appreciates natural farming techniques of Andhra

8 - 21 June 2024
. A delegation from Zambia is on a two-week visit to Andhra Pradesh to study community-based natural farming (APCNF) techniques. (former APZBNF - Andhra Pradesh Zero budget Farming).

To promote the CNF programme in the state, the Government of Andhra Pradesh have established “Rhythu Sadhikara Samstha” (RySS), an integrated institutional mechanism. Apart from implementing the program in the state, RySS is leading a large-scale action research to develop knowledge products and agriculture models in CNF. One of the major inventions by RySS is Pre-monsoon Dry Sowing (PMDS).  

The delegation includes agriculture researchers from Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture, farmers, and project functionaries from two community-based organisations—the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC) and the Valponasca Learning Farm (VLF).

  • The Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC), established in 1974, is a non-profit organisation in Zambia, run by Jesuit priests to promote sustainable organic agriculture in Lusaka County, improving livelihoods and building resilience to climate change. Fr Claus Recktenwald from KATC leads a delegation of 11 farmer practitioners.
  • Valponasca Learning Farm (VLF). Since 1984, the Salesian Sisters have been working across four counties in Northern Province, Zambia. They established the Valponasca Learning Farm in 2012 to train young people in agriculture, providing formal education, professional training, and skills to 529 small-scale farmers.

The delegation is practising natural farming under the guidance of Andhra Pradesh APCNF farmer trainers and Anantapur District Project Manager of the APCNF Lakshma Naik. The State government is also planning to send expert farmers from Andhra Pradesh to Zambia to guide the farmers for three years until this model is successfully demonstrated and scaled up.

RySS is now ready to become a global resource organisation for countries that want to learn natural farming from us and take this movement back to their lands. We are honoured to receive the Zambian delegation since most of them are farmer practitioners. RySS is collaborating worldwide with various governments, NGOs, and philanthropies, having hosted delegations from over 45 countries. T Vijay Kumar Thallam - RySS executive vice-chairman 

The Zambian delegation, visited several APCNF (Andhra Pradesh Community-managed Natural Farming) fields in Anantapur district and interacted with the farmers about the 'draught proof model' and Pre-Monsoon Dry Sowing (PMDS) new grain cultivation practices that can grow crops even in water-scarce lands.
  • In PMDS, mulching practice across the field acts as the catalyst to harness the water vapour from the atmosphere that drops to the land surface in the form of early morning dew. 
  • The material used for mulching facilitates the percolation of the dew into the soil and prevents its evaporation again. 
  • It is therefore recommended to the farmers to follow PMDS during March-May/June, followed by Kharif crops, Pre-Rabi dry sowing (PRDS) and Rabi crops, under the overall CNF programme.
  • Farmers are expected to get multiple benefits through the crops grown under PMDS and PRDS that include obtaining intermittent cash income, food items, green manure, and green fodder to animals. 
  • Thus, PMDS contributes to cropping intensity, increased agricultural incomes, and continuous green cover to the soil for 365 days in a year. In turn, these practices would result in the improvements in the soil fertility besides reducing and/ or removing greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. 
  • Hence, RySS has made PMDS as an integral part of CNF 

Picture: RySS, Chief Technology & Innovation Officer, Mr. Lakshmana Nayak and a group of Zambian delegations eagerly listening to various issues being discussed during their visit to several APCNF crop fields in Anantapur district of the state to adopt natural farming in their country.

  • It takes three to five years for an individual farmer to completely transition to chemical-free agriculture. RySS plans to transition 5 million farmers between 2024 and 2035. Focusing solely on fertilizer input savings, the APCNF programme’s own data project that the net benefits will exceed 50% of the fertilizer expenditure in FY 2028–2029.

  • The Indian government approved in June 2023, entitled the Prime Minister’s Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment, and Amelioration of Mother Earth (PM-PRANAM). Under this policy, different branches of the Indian government at central and state levels act as investors, implementors and monitors of projects to reduce fertilizer use. Under the PM-PRANAM, fertilizer savings result in a payment from the government of approximately 50% of the benefit, paid a year after those savings are realized.
  • The RySS internal projections of farmer adoption of APCNF calculated that the payments from the central government will only exceed the expenditure cost at the end of 2028–2029, with a maximum deficit before turning positive of US$244.0 million. There would be a modest US$22 million deficit in FY 2024– 2025 before returning positive cumulative benefits in FY 2025–2026.
  • Transitioning to agroecology will require further investment at the farm level in training and infrastructure to maximize the environmental and social returns so far achieved. With appropriate support, the bond scheme might offer a pathway for future additional investment.


11 July 2024. 14:00 – 17:00 CEST. Doing Science Differently.
  • first of a series of dialogues hosted by the Agroecology TPP (Transformative Partnership Platform on Agroecological Approaches to Building Resilience of Livelihoods and Landscapes). 
  •  The Agroecology TPP aims to foster transitions to more sustainable agricultural and food systems by accelerating and coordinating the actions of a range of institutions already working on agroecology across various scales, contexts, and locations.

Further references

India-Rwanda Knowledge Exchange on Natural Farming

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