Natural Farming vs Organic Farming: 5 Key Differences

Natural Farming vs Organic farming

In farming, two methods that are often understood as same but differs from each other on several factors, i.e. Natural farming vs Organic farming. 

Natural Farming vs Organic farming

Natural Farming 

The farming method which is often regarded as the “do-nothing” farming method, or the “Fukuoka Method”. This farming method was initiated by Masanobu Fakuoka, a Japanese farmer and philosopher. 

Natural farming

This chemical free farming method uses the natural processes found in ecosystems for farming processes.

The primary aim of natural farming methods is to reduce human intervention and dependency  on external inputs such as synthetic chemicals, machines, fertilizers, and pesticides. 

Instead of that, it relies on ecological principles to foster better agricultural growth, health of soil, biodiversity, and overall sustainability and maintenance of agriculture. 

Dr. Subhash Palekar, who is affectionately and with high gratitude is known as the “Father of Zero Tillage” in India, who has played a significant role in shaping the principles of natural farming.

Natural farming follows the laws of nature for its agricultural practices. 

Organic Farming 

The farming method which can be called by two other names, i.e. “Ecological Farming” or “Biological Farming”. 

This farming method makes use of external sources for its farming processes. It uses resources like manures like compost, organic fertilizers, cow dung manure, manure made from fruits waste, vermicomposting, etc. that are added to the lands for farming. 

Organic farming

Organic farming makes use of basic agro practices like tilting, plowing, mixing of manures, weeding, fertilizers addition, etc. 

This farming method lays a strong emphasis on ecological balance of agriculture, health of the soil of farmlands, biodiversity conservation, in the farming ecosystem.

The goal is to produce food and agricultural products in a way that is more healthier and along  with that promotes environmental sustainability of nature. It is being governed by specific standards and rules set by the government. 

Natural Farming vs Organic Farming 

There are several aspects that mark the difference between natural farming vs organic farming-

Sr.No.  Factors Natural Farming Organic Farming 
1. External methods and inputs No external method is employed in its practices, avoids external inputsIt makes use of external methods like plowing, tilting, etc. and makes use of external sources like fertilizers, manure, etc. 
2.Cost effectiveness Low-cost farming method, more effective because of low-budget. Can be expensive as it makes use of external sources. 
3. Regulations Lacks regulation (less regulated).Follows strict regulations and guidelines for organic certification. 
4.Adaptability and Crop selection Adapts to local practices and environment, and mainly focuses on local and indigenous cropsAdapts to rules and guidelines set, and caters to diverse crop selection. 
5. Soil health and Food quality It relies on natural processes for soil health. It produces natural nutrition rich food due to natural conditions. Makes use of organic manures, fertilizers, and compost. It makes no synthetic chemicals, and produces high-quality nutritious food. 
Natural Farming vs Organic Farming

(1) External methods and Inputs

The natural farming method avoids the use of any external method into its process and uses natural practices and resources to grow their crops.

While in organic farming it makes use of external farming techniques and methods like plowing, mixing of manure, tilting, etc. for its cultivation of crops. 

Between both these farming methods, the one that is more prone to adapt the external input use is organic farming method. It uses external inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, manure, etc. While the natural farming method does not allow use of any such external inputs into its practices. 

Key differences between natural and organic farming

(2) Cost Effectiveness

As natural farming does not make any use of external resources, it is cost effective and requires minimal costs, is less mainstream, and is easily accessible. In the case of organic farming, it is quite expensive as it requires the use of external practices. 

Differentiation factors of natural & organic farming

(3) Regulations 

Organic farming is subjected to specific guidelines and regulations that are set in order to ensure the adherence to organic standards and certification. While if we look at natural farming methods, there is usually no such requirement and as a result it is less regulated. 

(4) Adaptability and Crop Selection 

Natural farming adapts to local practices and local environment for cultivation of crops through this method, while in care of organic farming, there is a set of specific guidelines and regulations that are important to do farming through this method. 

Natural farming mainly focuses on indigenous and local crops that are best suited in the natural environment. Whereas in organic farming, it caters to diverse crop lines for its cultivation. 

Natural and organic farming factors

(5) Soil Health and Food Quality

Natural farming makes use and depends on natural processes for its fertility like decomposition through microbes, natural ecosystem practices, avoiding soil disturbance, and more of it. 

In organic farming, it makes use of organic manures, fertilizers, and compost that also involves traditional cultivation practices. 

As natural farming adapts natural practices for its cultivation of crops, thus it produces nutrition rich foods that are grown in the natural environment.

While in the case of organic farming, it avoids the use of synthetic chemicals into its practices and produces foods that are of high quality national content. 

Sustainability and Scalability 

Natural farming is considered to be highly sustainable and its scalability can be challenging as it depends on natural factors and ecosystems. Whereas in organic farming, it is sustainable to various scales of production, which makes it a more scalable farming method. 

Farming methods sustainability and scalability


Natural farming mimics the natural ecosystem practices that results in promoting local diversity. On the other hand, the organic farming method avoids the use of synthetic chemicals in its practices and supports biodiversity. While it is not fully involved with the local practices. 

Pest Management

Natural farming methods rarely use external sources to treat pest and disease in its crops, instead it follows a natural approach i.e. use natural ecosystem based pest control. While in organic farming, it makes use of organic pesticides and incorporates pest management techniques. 

Government Initiatives for Natural & Organic Farming 

(A) Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) 

A prominent initiative taken by the government for natural farming is ZBNF, which is zero budget natural farming.

This farming model was developed by Padma Shri Subash Palekar, who is also being referred to as the father of ““Father of Zero Tillage” in India, who has played a significant role in shaping the principles of natural farming.

Its key features include 

  • Intercropping and polyculture. 
  • Lower production cost. 
  • Efficient water management. 
  • Farming without external inputs.
  • No use of synthetic chemicals. 

Zero Budget Natural Farming

(B) Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)

This government initiative or the scheme encouraged the adoption of organic farming practices and the certification to meet the standard of organic produce foods.

It highly promotes the use of traditional and indigenous methods that reduces the dependency on synthetic chemicals.

(C) Green India Mission

This mission was launched with the goal to increase forest and tree cover, with that promoting biodiversity and sustainability, which can indirectly benefit natural farming practices and sustainability. 

Green India Mission

This initiative by the government reflected their commitment of promoting environmentally friendly farming practices and also sustainability.

Along with that, the Indian government under this initiative provides support, financial incentives that help farmers to transform and adapt these methods, ultimately benefiting farmers and the environment.

(D) Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)


One of the prominent initiatives by the government. This PMKSY scheme focuses on the efficient use of water and water management in agriculture, including practices that align best with the organic and natural farming principles.

Note: Do visit our article Creative Strategies to Reduce Post Harvest Loss In India to understand its significance in agriculture.

Summing Up: Natural Farming vs Organic Farming 

Both these farming methods support sustainable farming practices that lays emphasis on the reduced or negligible use of synthetic chemicals into the agricultural practices, and aims to encourage environmental sustainability. Both these farming methods have distinct approaches towards farming practices. 

Natural farming vs Organic farming

While in the above of natural farming vs organic farming, we figured out that these farming methods which sound so similar by their name, actually differ a lot.

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Published By: Aashita Singh
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