Punjab Govt. announces one million US award for providing paddy straw solution. Punjab Government Announces an Award of US $ One Million for providing solution to manage paddy straw. Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman, Punjab State Farmers and Farm Workers Commission announced the fund to global audience today at the International Conference on “Agricultural GHG Emissions and Food Security” being held in Berlin, Germany. He called upon the international research community and institutions to participate in the Challenge and develop a cheaper and easy technology for farmers to adopt which have the intended benefit for environment.
He said that the challenge fund seeks technology which is safe for crop and environment, does not affect the yields, is not genetically engineered and which is applicable to existing varieties, from international or national institutes/ researchers/ individuals/ entrepreneurs. Punjab Agricultural University would evaluate the technologies. The detailed guidelines of the challenge fund are available at Commission’s website. Burning of agricultural biomass residue, or Crop Residue Burning has been identified as a major Environmental and Health hazard. As per estimates, Punjab produces approximately 19 million tons of paddy straw, about 75% of which is burnt.The main causes of crop residue burning are two-fold. Firstly, there is a very short window of time between harvesting of paddy and cultivation of wheat, at the end of the Kharif season. Secondly, paddy straw has very limited use, all of which are labouring intensive and expensive. Farmers resort to the cheaper alternative of burning the residue on the field. Punjab State Farmers and Farm Workers Commission is seeking a technology that can decompose paddy straw in less than 20 days. The State Government has launched a programme to make the Crop Residue Management machinery accessible to farmers by distributing these in large number and also making it affordable by subsidizing the capital cost. Keeping in view the large quantity to be managed in a short window of time, it may take few years for complete eradication of straw burning.
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