Product Spotlight: ZBNF’s Cashews
The ZBNF Star Crop
Tribal regions are priority zones for Zero Budget National Farming (ZBNF) implementation in the vision of Rythu Sadhikara Samstha. These communities are amongst the most vulnerable to any shift in agricultural and climatic patterns.
The RySS-ZBNF is a grassroots movement in India dedicated to caring for the land, people, and communities that produce our food. The program is about climate-change resilient, low-cost, “zero-budget” natural farming that aims to promote the welfare of farmers, naturally improve soil fertility, make more nutritious, chemical-free food available to you, the end consumer—and aims to ensure diversity in farming, reduce the cost of cultivation for tribal farmers, and provide food security for their households.
The tribal areas in East Godavari and Visakhapatnam are home to many cashew nut farmers, along with other NTFPs. Previously, farmers were treating their cashew trees with pesticides and fertilizers before every harvest in order to ensure a higher yield. Unfortunately, over the years the farmers observed that their trees had lost lustre and yields.
The harmful effects of these chemicals started to become more evident, but with the support of ZBNF staff in the agriculture department, the cashew farmers started applying ’ghanajeevamrutham’ to their trees.
These simple procedures brought significant changes to the cashew trees and the yields in following years.
The ZBNF cashew trees have started showing resistance to temperature fluctuations, insects and pathogens. In addition, their leaves are wider, shinier, and dark green in color; applying ’ghanajeevamrutha’ increases the availability of nitrogen. Farmers are also witnessing early flowering and higher rates female flowers, resulting in a higher number of fruits.
Last year, the average cashew nut yield was 450 kilos per acre, while this year the expected yield is around 650-800 kilos per acre.
These observations have brought a smile back to the faces of many tribal farmers in the area. They are set to transition their full cashew operations into ZBNF.
To read more about how ZBNF’s fertilizing treatment is helping other plants and communities flourish, follow this link.