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In the 1960s, the Green Revolution had a phenomenal impact on India’s food production, but it also made the land infertile, led to extensive water consumption and exacerbated groundwater loss. It also led to widespread use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers. In the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, water scarcity and poor soil quality forced many farmers to walk away from agriculture. They were perennially buried under a vicious debt cycle, with most of their earnings funnelled into buying pesticides and fertilisers.
But a few years ago, the state launched an ambitious programme called Zero Budget Natural Farming that is transforming things on the ground. The idea is simple: to stop the dependency on chemicals and revive the land. It’s already starting to show results.
Andhra Pradesh is now well on its way to becoming India’s first 100 percent organic farming state, as our correspondents report.