1. Agriculture World

Stubble Burning: Farmers Use New Organic Spray To Get Rid Of Farm Waste

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Stubble Burning

A deadly haze gathers over northern India throughout the winter months when winds decrease. The region's air pollution can reach many times the worldwide safety standard during the worst periods. One of the main sources of pollution is the burning of twigs. 

Sanju has a goal in mind. She has been travelling from village to village in India, begging farmers to avoid burning residue from harvested rice harvests near New Delhi for weeks. 

Sanju, a 24-year-old is one of several hundred Haryana gig workers, all of whom are women attempting to buck the trend. Rather of setting fire to agricultural debris, she advises farmers to sprinkle a white material on their fields to help it decay. Her efforts are part of one of India's most ambitious efforts to reduce stubble burning. 

"It's a win-win situation for farmers," said Dhruv Sawhney, the project's chief operating officer and founder of nurture.farm, a digital platform that promotes sustainable agriculture. This year, his organisation delivered the decomposer to 25,000 farmers for free, in addition to recruiting on-the-ground messengers like Sanju. 

According to Sawhney, the state-run Indian Agricultural Research Institute's innovative organic spray has helped farmers avoid burning over 385,000 acres of rice paddies. Pusa decomposer is a low-cost bio-enzyme that breaks down straw and transforms it into fertiliser. 

Nurture.farm wants to increase its coverage area to 5.7 million acres over the next three years at a cost of Rs 600 crore ($80 million) per year. Many farmers believe they will continue to use the powder even if the firm starts charging for it, in part because it saves them money on fertiliser. A worldwide fertiliser deficit is putting pressure on India, the world's largest cotton grower and second-largest producer of rice, wheat, and sugar. 

Anil Kalyan, 58, who employed the decomposer on 40 acres of his farm, stated, "I don't mind spending a modest amount on this but it should be affordable else I would go back to my former habit of burning the produce." He didn't burn the stubble this year for the first time in four decades. 

On average, the bio-enzyme breaks down crop residue in three weeks and adds organic carbon in the soil. Crops decomposed even quicker on certain fields, within a week, Sawhney added, which is promising as more farmers employ the decomposer. 

Farmers are frequently blamed for the poor air quality in northern India. Every winter, smoke from stubble burning combines with construction dust and industrial pollution to create a poisonous cocktail that obscures the sun, causes flights to be cancelled, and overwhelms hospitals. For weeks, the haze remains in the region's trough-like landscape. 

However, political motivation to find a solution has slowed, owing to the lack of a cost-effective option for farmers. Technologies like the Happy Seeder, which sows seeds while also collecting straw and laying it as mulch over the fields, are too inconvenient and costly. There are additional plants that use straw to produce ethanol, but there is presently insufficient capacity. 

Farmers believe the decomposer is a positive breakthrough thus far. 

Satinder Sharma, 62, a wheat harvester in Haryana, estimates a 10% increase in production this year. He now spends less on fertilisers like urea and diammonium phosphate, which increases his profits. He considers it a bonus to contribute to ensuring clean air for future generations. 

He claims that the decomposer will "save the soil and plants next to the fields, and the product will be healthier." "Burning the crops was a natural calamity, and we were contributing to it." 

Like this article?

Hey! I am Chintu Das. Did you liked this article and have suggestions to improve this article? Mail me your suggestions and feedback.

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters