Discussion on paddy stubble: ‘Experts, scientists to be blamed for farm fires’

Published on Nov 06, 2022 10:26 PM IST

A joint director-level officer of the agriculture department, Punjab, has said that farm scientists and experts are to be blamed for the current situation when paddy growers are resorting to burning paddy stubble

Farm scientists and experts are to be blamed for the current situation when paddy growers are resorting to burning the stubble leading to health and environment hazards. This was stated by joint director-level officer of the agriculture department, Punjab, Jagdish Singh while sharing his viewpoint in the discussion on “Paddy stubble – farmers’ friend or enemy”. (HT File Photo)
Farm scientists and experts are to be blamed for the current situation when paddy growers are resorting to burning the stubble leading to health and environment hazards. This was stated by joint director-level officer of the agriculture department, Punjab, Jagdish Singh while sharing his viewpoint in the discussion on “Paddy stubble – farmers’ friend or enemy”. (HT File Photo)
By, Chandigarh

Farm scientists and experts are to be blamed for the current situation when paddy growers are resorting to burning the stubble leading to health and environment hazards.

This was stated by joint director-level officer of the agriculture department, Punjab, Jagdish Singh while sharing his viewpoint in the discussion on “Paddy stubble – farmers’ friend or enemy” in the ongoing agro-tech organsied by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The discussion was attended by a large number of farmers.

“Farmers were only told to preserve the grain and not the crop residue, which they have been putting to practice for many years. Now they can’t change the age-old practices suddenly. It will happen gradually,” he told the farmers who had come there.

In Punjab, Haryana and parts of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, particularly paddy growing belts, the Centre has offered grant to the state governments to supply subsidised machines for the management of paddy straw.

Jagdish Singh told the farmers to preserve paddy stubble along with the grain as it would give them reasonable earnings and soon stubble would become expensive and would not be available for free.

He said despite so many incidents of paddy stubble burning in the state, Pathankot has reported no farm fires. “Here stubble collected over an acre of harvested paddy crop is fetching farmers 6,000 and this would spread across the state in two to three years’ time,” he said.

During the discussion, experts suggested farmers not to buy subsidised machines for in-situ and ex-situ management of paddy stubble in case they do not want to use these machines.

“Even if purchased on subsidy, it would make a loss-making proposition if farmers are not going to use these machines,” said Jagminder Nain, a joint director-rank officer of the agriculture department, Haryana. He added that if not used, these machines would turn into junk. “In such a scenario, the portion of finances contributed by the farmers would also go waste,” he added.

There are reports that machines given for stubble management are largely underused. In Punjab, 1.05 lakh machines have been given to the farmers so far.

Ramesh Chauhan, a farmer from Fatehabad, narrated his success story of using subsidised machines for stubble management. “In 2017, I constituted a farmers’ group which now owns 40 machines for stubble management and have employed 70 youth to operate the machines in the farms,” he said, adding that the group was making profits.

Kuldeep Senger of the CII foundation said there is an increase of 8% to 10% in yield where paddy stubble is mixed in soil and a cut down on urea consumption by 4 to 10%.

Mahesh Narang, head of farm machinery training department of Punjab Agricultural University, said, “Punjab and Haryana are the two feeder states. As an institution, we have many technological and machine-based solutions to ensure farmers manage stubble rather than burning it. Solutions are there, stakeholders have to ensure that farmers are motivated.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Gurpreet Singh Nibber is an Assistant Editor with the Punjab bureau. He covers politics, agriculture, power sector, environment, Sikh religious affairs and the Punjabi diaspora.

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