DESPITE THERE being techniques available in the market to deal with the problem of paddy residue, the majority of farmers are reluctant to do so, said additional director, Research, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Surinder Singh Kukal on Friday. He added that the burning of paddy residue was causing pollution and a matter of concern.
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Kukal was speaking at the panel discussion held at Panjab University’s department of Geography, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), North-Western Regional Centre.
He said the PAU has devised machines like the Happy Seeder, which includes no tillage and mulching concept. “The results have shown that if the machine is used consistently for 5-6 years in fields, it helps increase the biomass in the soil by 25-30 percent which will eventually lead to reducing use of fertilisers by one-third, giving a benefit of Rs 6,000 to a farmer,” said Surinder Singh.
Among other measures to restrict paddy burning is a small scale biomass project for farmers, which costs around Rs 1 lakh. “The biomass project is being implemented by farmers in Patiala, Muktsar. The results show that if the bio gas plant is implemented, 12 cylinders of gas can be produced with the paddy straw available with the farmers. It will be of help if the government can subsidise this.”
On the ways to curb the menace Kukal said, “Firstly, farmers need to adopt and pay attention to new techniques that are available today. They need to test them in their fields so that they understand the long term benefits that they will provide. Moreover, in small projects like of biogas only the accumulation of paddy needs to be done but nobody is willing to do that either.”
Following demonetisation, the PAU cut down on the seed cost by 15-20 percent. Earlier, the seeds would cost the farmer Rs 3,000, which is now lowered to Rs 2,200. “Farmers are coming in to buy the seeds at all our district centres. We are also accepting old currency notes to ease the panic among them,” he said.