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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Fungi tablets to tackle crop stubble burning by farmers

“Crop stubble is a major source of winter pollution in Delhi. I congratulate IARI scientists for developing a low-cost, effective technology to deal with crop stubble burning...,” said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: September 24, 2020 7:25:14 am
As stubble-burning season begins, sharp spike in farm firesThe first six days of October saw five times the number of stubble-burning incidents in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh as in the corresponding period of last year, official data show. (Representational Image)

Scientists at Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) have come up with a way to tackle crop residue burning by farmers. PUSA Decomposer is a set of four tablets made by extracting fungi strains that help the paddy straw to decompose at a much faster rate than usual, giving farmers the option to shred the straw, spray a solution containing the fungal strains, and mix it with the soil for decomposition.

Under usual circumstances, shredded, watered paddy straw, which is mixed with soil, takes at least 45 days to decompose, not giving enough time to farmers to prepare fields for the wheat crop on time. But the PUSA Decomposer will decompose it in 25 days, according to A K Singh, Director, IARI.

“Crop stubble is a major source of winter pollution in Delhi. I congratulate IARI scientists for developing a low-cost, effective technology to deal with crop stubble burning…,” said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Singh said that the method will be cheap and also result in better soil quality. “Based on our experiments, the cost of employing this method will come to about Rs 300 per acre, including the cost of labour… That is not the only benefit though. When organic matter decomposes in sand, it improves the quality of soil in a way that inorganic fertilisers can’t… Since the fungi only impact dead straw, the wheat crop is not in danger,” he said.

A Delhi government team is expected to visit IARI, Pusa, on Thursday for a demonstration.

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