1. Farm Mechanization

Happy Seeder Tractors & Two Seeders to Stop Crop Burning

Tooba Maher
Tooba Maher

The North Indian farmers are burning leftover rice stubble, in a rush to plant the next wheat crop. This crop burning is sending plumes of smoke into the sky that foul the air in Delhi and dozens of other cities in northern India and across the border in Pakistan. 

Happy Seeder Tractor 

India’s smog kills an estimated 1.1 million citizens every year. In the nearby state of Haryana, in a field of stiff rice stalks left over from the recent harvest, a group of 20 farmers gathered in late September to watch a tractor pull a basic looking piece of farm equipment called a Happy Seeder.  

The Happy Seeder machine, plants wheat through the stubble, leaving the crop residue to rot, preserving soil moisture and reducing the amount of water needed.  

According to farmers, they are forced to burn crops as they are left with lot of stubble in their fields. On the positive side farmers are also happy with Happy Seeder tractor and said "They are going to experiment with the Happy Seeder this year and if there’s a better yield and a better profit, then they will keep using it."  
Sonalika Group, India’s third largest tractor manufacturer, organized the workshop and donated two seeders and two other pieces of farm equipment to 25 Haryana villages.  

The seeder which costs $2000, is too expensive for most farmers, but the government and companies like Sonalika are making the machines available at local depots and stressed farmers can earn more money by using less fertilizer and water.  
"You have to make them understand the economics," says Lopamudra Priyadarshini, who heads corporate social responsibility at Sonalika unit International Tractors Ltd. "Indians don’t learn because of what I say, they learn because of what their fellow brothers do."  

Satellite Data 

According to Environment Ministry Spokesman Gaurav Khare, “The Central Government has distributed about $85 million to the states to try and eradicate crop burning.”  But satellite data shows that the amount also has not made a difference as this year also farmers have continued to set thousands of fires to burn their crops. 

There were 5 percent more fires this year in the peak burning season between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15 than there were last year, said research scientist Hiren Jethva of the Universities Space Research Association at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. 

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