Concept, principles, practices and achievements of bio-intensive farming system


HICAST, Kathmandu, NEPAL

Proponents of Green Revolution or high inputs chemical farming system (HICFS) generally argue that developing countries should opt for an agro-industrial model that relies on standardized technologies and ever-increasing chemical fertilizer and pesticide use to provide additional food supplies for growing populations and economies. In contrast, a growing number of farmers, I/NGOs, academia and analysts propose that instead of this capital- and input-intensive approach, developing countries should favor an agro-ecological model, which emphasizes biodiversity, recycling of nutrients, synergy among crops, animals, soils, and other biological components, and regeneration and conservation of resources. The concept of bio-intensive farming (BIF) system is based on agro-ecological principles. In other words, the concept and approaches of BIF system is based on holistic system of sustainable management of natural resources in a given agro-ecosystem with specific cultural and knowledge base.

 The principles of BIF system include the following:

  1.  Scientific crop rotation
  2. Mixed farming systems
  3. Optimization of organic recycling 
  4. Participatory and sustainable management of natural resources
  5. Participatory research, extension and advocacy
  6. Networking and cooperation
  7. Attainment of high degree of self-reliance of farm households.

Features of bio-intensive farming system

 The participants are provided with insight about the features on BIF system. Leader farmers (LF) and Technical Assistants share their experiences with other local farmers about a number of these features. The characteristic features of BIF system within the framework of its principles are as follows:

  1. Empowerment of people and their independent democratic organizations
  2. Conservation and utilization of biodiversity
  3. Eco- and health-friendly biologically intensive production systems
  4. Equitable access to natural productive resources and public services
  5. Sustainable technologies

 Approaches of BIF system

Some clarity is given to the participants on the approaches of BIF system programme that has been implemented in Udayapur for the last eight years and Siraha district for the last 5 years. The approaches include:

  1. Participatory approach
  2. Holistic system approach focusing on experiential learning and knowledge generation
  3. Collective empowerment and self-reliance building

 Implementation strategies and components of BIFS

BIF system ensures access of marginalised/small farmers and women to resources, information, technology, and market. More specifically, in the process of planning and implementation of the BIF system, the local farmers’ groups /cooperatives and networks address and do advocacy on the following issues.

  1.  Ensuring women’s leadership role in agricultural cooperatives, extension and marketing
  2. Issues of land rights of the marginalized farmers and women
  3. Issues of food security and sustainability of rural enterprises
  4. Issues of conservation of diversity (biological, social, environmental)
  5. Issues of women’s and marginalised household’s role and access to and control over resources

 Farmer’s groups (FG), Women Groups (WG) or their cooperatives/ farmer’s networks (FN), Model Demonstration Farms (MDF) cum Farmer’s Field School (FFS) are the major components of BIF system. FGs are the main implementing communities at local level. Their cooperatives and FNs are engaged in extension, marketing and advocacy activities. MDF of BIF system is a component developed by Dr B P Rajbhandari in 1992 and was first implemented in Nuwakot district. It is a space for participatory action research, farmer-to-farmer extension and promotion/development of new technologies. It also serves as a FFS where local farmers learn from the active engagement and experience of LFs.


Recently I had visited the sites and intearcted with the BIF farmers both men and women. They are doing excellent job. They reported that BIF activities have positively affected in their nutritonal security and household income. Three students from Himalayan College of Agroicultural Sciences and Technology (HICAST) has just finished thesis research works on BIF related topics.

Major achievements

  1. Farmer’s groups/cooperatives/networks strengthened
  2. FG/FN doing advocacy
  3. MDF/FFS attaining success in meeting its goal
  4. Farm households’ socio-economic status upgraded
  5. Soil fertility and local bio-diversity conserved/improved
  6. Food insecurity level declining substantially

2 Responses to “Concept, principles, practices and achievements of bio-intensive farming system”

  1. Pooja Says:

    I have added another page

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