"Use of latest devices only can stop burning of paddy stubble in fields"
In spite of several awareness campaigns carried out by the authorities concerned to persuade farmers not to burn paddy stubble in the fields, most of the stubble was reported to have been burnt in the fields in most areas of the district this year also.punjab Updated: Nov 30, 2013 19:36 IST
In spite of several awareness campaigns carried out by the authorities concerned to persuade farmers not to burn paddy stubble in the fields, most of the stubble was reported to have been burnt in the fields in most areas of the district this year also.
So, what is the alternative to stop farmers from burning it in fields? Ban on traditional paddy chopper and adoption of the latest technology like the chopper-cum-shredder which chops paddy at the ground level, say some progressive farmers of the district.
"First of all, the use of old paddy straw choppers should be banned on paddy fields. Now most of the farmers burn paddy stubble after chopping, which is 100% burning. But if chopping is banned, only loose straw will be burnt which is about 25%," said Amarjeet Singh Dhillon, a progressive farmer from Bargari village.
But the government lacked political will to go ahead with this, he regretted.
"The latest technology might also help the farmers to stop burning the stubble, but they need to change their traditional mindset first," said Amandeep Keshav, project director of the agriculture technology management agency (ATMA).
"We have now happy seeder which can sow wheat without ploughing the paddy fields. The latest paddy chopper-cum- shredder might find favour with the farmers in coming years', said Amandeep.
"But the need of the hour was that farmers have to be innovative and adopt new techniques which can prove quite useful," he added.
"Chopper-cum-shredder is the latest tractor-driven device which not only chops paddy from the ground level, but also shreds it and scatters it back in the fields which could be then ploughed by cultivators, disks or rotavator," said engineer Harcharan Singh of the district agriculture department.
"It can be attached with a loader to load the produce into trollies and it can also be used as wheat straw reaper with some modifications. So, it may also find favour with farmers," he said.
He said, although the latest devices are costly as chopper-cum- shredder, happy seeder and paddy bails cost about Rs 2.30 lakh, Rs 1.20 lakh and 10. 5 lakh respectively but the government provides 40 to 50% subsidy on them.
"The farmers have bought 3 chopper-cum-shredders in the district," he said.
"Though happy seeder is already available and has been in the market for some years, farmers are reluctant to buy it saying that it is costly. Besides, the lack of awareness and traditional mindset is also a problem. Earlier, there was only zero till machine to sow wheat without plowing the paddy fields but it got choked with paddy stubble and more paddy stubble in the fields also created the problem of rats, but happy seeder is an improved version of it and is very useful", said Bhupesh Joshi, deputy director, ATMA, Faridkot.
He added, "During trials on basmati fields in village Surghuri, we also saw an encouraging response from farmers to the chopper-cum-shredder."
"The new technology is costly and is not within the reach of most of the farmers. The number of happy seeders is also very small. The paddy bailer is very costly and, above all, there is no biomass plant in the district. So it would take years to reach the common farmers," said Amarjeet Singh Dhillon, a farmer from Bargari.
"So banning chopper is the first solution," he added.