1. Agriculture World

PAU’s Happy Seeder Machine- A Solution to Punjab’s Stubble Burning Problem

Abin Joseph
Abin Joseph
PAU’s Happy Seeder Machine on field

With the onset of winter on the horizon and the sowing season of rabi crops coming up, we all in the national capital region have to get ready for the oncoming of the infamous drop in air quality in Delhi for the winters.

Though the air quality in India’s capital has risen a few notches due to the lockdown restrictions due to the pandemic, the pollution caused by the stubble burning of farmers in the Punjab and Haryana region is a looming threat to Delhi’s air quality index.

According to a report released by the ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare in 2019, the total paddy straw produced in Haryana and Punjab together in 2018 was 28.10 million tonnes of which 11.3 million tonnes were burnt in the fields. 59.79% of the straw was managed through incorporation in the soil and other measures. Punjab also saw a sharp increase of 49% in stubble burning cases in 2020 compared to 2019.

Why do farmers burn stubble?

The main reason is to make way for sowing wheat in the rabi cropping season. Wheat is one of the most profitable of the cash crops harvested in India, and hence is one of the crops that farmers strive to make their fields ready for in the month of October.

According to the crop cutting experiment (CCE) undertaken by the state agriculture department, Punjab produced 171 lakh tonnes of wheat in the 2020-21 season which alone surpassed the record of the previous seasons

Although wheat is not ready for harvesting before October 15 it still leaves the farmers with a very small window to harvest the crops from the Kharif season and at the same time get their fields ready for the upcoming Rabi season.

The reason why farmers choose to burn the stubble instead of employing labour to get it cut is the small window of time that they have to get their fields ready.

Possible solutions

Well anybody can actually give a solution for stubble burning and economically energy-efficient solutions like using paddy to make biomass is possible but it is not viable as it still doesn’t solve the time problem.

Hence the most efficient way is to provide the farmers in the state of Punjab, Haryana and UP with Turbo Happy Seeders (THS). This is a tractor-operated machine developed by the PAU in collaboration with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), for in-situ management of paddy stubble is something that can be used to not only increase the wheat yield but also solves the time-related issue of the crops.

So the government should either grant subsidies to the farmers to help them buy these machines or just straight out gift these en masse.

The reason for that is that decrease or complete eradication of stubble burning will not only decrease the amount of air pollution in the national capital but it will also help the countries capital to drop out of the worlds most polluted cities list by increasing its air quality by a lot.

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