13th August, 2019, New Delhi
Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & DG (ICAR) addressed the press and media personnel on the issue of alternatives to crop residue burning in India at the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences Complex, Pusa, New Delhi here today.
The Director General outlined the constitution of a high level task force by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi for suggesting and guiding the implementation of a sustainable and scalable in-situ crop residue management practices in the North-Western States of Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. In this direction, the Government of India launched a special scheme of about INR 1,150 Crore for supporting the farmers for the machinery, capacity development, knowledge-sharing and awareness creation. The scheme involves almost 100 public institutions that include Krishi Vigyan Kendras, ICAR institutions, State Departments of Agriculture, Agriculture Universities, etc.
Dr. Mohapatra also stated about the research paper titled “Fields on fire: Alternatives to crop residue burning in India” published in the world’s topmost scientific journal - “Science Magazine” that evaluates the public and private costs and benefits of 10 farming practices for managing the rice residue, including burn and non-burn options. He also mentioned about the Happy Seeder-based systems that have emerged as the most profitable and scalable residue management practices as they are 10% to 20% more profitable than burning. The results show that the Mulch SMS + Happy Seeder is ~10% (INR 5,300 ha-1) more profitable than burning option (burn + zero-till) and ~20% (INR 11,500 ha-1) more profitable than the most common burn system (burn + disc harrow). Switching from the most common burning system to the Happy Seeder system is INR 11,500 ha-1 more profitable for the farmers.
The Happy Seeder options help in reducing the Particulate pollution by more than 98% (1 kg ha-1 year-1), GHG by ~80% (933 CO2 eq kg ha-1 year-1) and ground water withdrawals by ~20% (1412 m3 ha-1 year-1) than the farmers’ common practice (burn+disc harrow) in rice-wheat system of North-West India. The analysis in paper and farmers’ demonstration shows that the Happy Seeder is a profitable solution that could be scaled-up for adoption among the 2.5 million farmers involved in the rice-wheat cropping cycle in North-West India, thereby completely eliminating the need to burn. It can also lower agriculture’s contribution to India’s greenhouse gas emissions, while adding to the goal of doubling farmers’ income.
He emphasized that around 700 Awareness Programmes at village levels, 200 Kisan Ghoshthis and Field days, 86 Kisan Melas and 250 schools and colleges were sensitized for the noble cause. The initiative was taken in collaboration with the State Departments and Agricultural Universities. During this, more than 0.2 million Stakeholders were sensitized during one year.
He highlighted the role of the ICAR-Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute in guidance and implementation of the scheme of “Promotion of agricultural mechanization for In-situ management of crop residue through 60 Krishi Vigyan Kendras of Punjab (22), Haryana (14), Delhi (1) and Uttar Pradesh (23).
Dr. Mohapatra emphasized that around 4,500 villages adopted the zero burning practices and have been certified as zero burning villages in the Year - 2018.
Dr. S.K. Chaudhari, ADG, Soil and Water Management, ICAR, New Delhi along with Shri M.L. Jat, Principal Scientists (Systems Agronomist), CIMMYT International, Smt. Seema Paul, Managing Director, The Nature Conservancy and several other dignitaries were present during the occasion.
(Source: Directorate of Knowledge Management in Agriculture, Pusa, New Delhi)