Management of paddy stubble was among the much discussed topics on Sunday, the first day of CII Agrotech 2016. Experts from across the country and beyond emphasised that farmers should not be burning paddy stubble as it causes “serious problems”. On the inaugural day of the CII Agrotech – a biennial event – experts also elaborated on the options available with farmers apart from stubble burning. The theme of Sunday’s session was Challenges and Solutions for Comprehensive Straw Management.
Dr Harminder Singh Sidhu, Senior Research Engineer, Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA), Ludhiana, said, “The rice residue management can never be done in isolation. It has to be done in consonance with the principles of conservation management. The key criterion has to be no additional cost on the farmer.”
Head of Department for Agriculture and Bio-Energy, Federal Association of German Training Centres for Agricultural Engineering, Nienburg, Germany, Ulrich Lossie, said, “The size of the stubble left after cutting must not be more than 10 cm and machines applied must be used properly for this to happen. Germany is using Strip Till, where animal excreta is used to manage the residue. As a rule, we need a chain of methods to manage straw and farmers’ education also plays a vital role.”
B S Dhillon, Vice Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, said, “Earlier, people used to make ropes from the stubble but now 75 per cent of the stubble is burnt which is leading to serious problems.” He added that a method titled, ‘In-Situ on surface degradation, which involves spray application of a specific bacteria was under research’.
A number of farmers could be seen making queries at various stalls put up at Parade Ground in Sector 17 where various agriculture-related companies have displayed their products and technologies. A few of the companies had also put up stalls educating farmers on how to produce power from paddy stubble. One such company had already set up a first such plant in Punjab’s Fazilka district where power is being produced by burning paddy stubble.
“We received more than 150 queries on Day One. Farmers are approaching us to inquire about how they can sell the stubble to us so that they do not have to burn it,” said SP Yadav, representative of one of the companies taking part in Agrotech.
Yadav told Indian Express that they were buying stubble from the farmers at the rate of Rs 1.5 per kg and generating power. Stating that the residue of stubble is also being used as an organic fertiliser, he said they would soon set up similar plants in Haryana and other parts of Punjab.