Air quality in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) is a major concern due to its severe impact on human health. Tons of paddy straw burnt every year in North Western states, not only degrades the environment but also puts a dent in the country’s economy. It negatively impacts the soil health, kills beneficial insects, increases irrigation requirements, and significantly adds on to the already prevalent pollution.
To promote sustainable agricultural practices and mitigate effects of crop residue burning, CII Foundation has initiated work in 50 villages in Ludhiana, Patiala and Barnala districts in Punjab, supporting 7000 farmers adopt improved straw management practices in over 50,000 acres of farmland. Implemented in partnership with the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and Department of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Government of Punjab, the initiative aims to make the adopted villages free from the practice of stubble burning.
The initiative is a continuation of CII’s work undertaken last year, engaging with 3000 farmers across 19 villages and 16000 acres of farmland. Post the intervention, 80% farmers adopted no stubble burning approach and a total of 12,000 acres of farmland (75% of the total area under paddy in the adopted villages) became free of stubble burning in 2018, compared to 550 acres (3.5% of farm land) in 2017. About 25,000 tonne of rice straw was recycled back into the soil under the project. This not only led to avoidance of environmental impacts on local, regional and global scales but also led to nutrient savings worth more than INR 1 crore and improved farmer’s resilience to adverse impacts of climate change due to water conservation, improved farm biodiversity, and resilience of crops to extreme climatic events.
About 30 kilo tonne CO2e of GHG and 13 tonne BC which would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere are estimated to be fed back into the soil, portion of which will be sequestered into the soil for hundreds of years. Also, the project led to avoidance of estimated 115 tonne fine particulate matter (PM2.5), 140 tonne volatile organic compounds, 82 tonne ammonia, 39 tonne oxides of nitrogen and 6 tonne oxides of sulphur all of which had the potential to travel to wide distances and deteriorate the ambient air quality across Indo-Gangetic Plains. Click here for Impact Assessment Report of the initiative in 2018.
These results make a strong case that the problem of stubble burning can be tackled while making the farming more sustainable and economically beneficial to farmers. Based on the findings and learnings of the pilot intervention, CII gave its recommendations to the PMO recently.
Encouraged by the inspiring response of pilot intervention, CII aims to expand the programme in a multi-stakeholder partnership to about 100 villages in 2019 across districts of Ludhiana, Barnala, Patiala and Sangrur in Punjab and Rohtak and Fatehabad in Haryana. The initiative is actively supported by Farmer Producer Organizations and Farmer Cooperatives.
CII has partnered with several industry players such as Cummins, BPCL, Birlasoft, ONGC, Royal Enfield, ReNew Power, RAU Study Circle CLP India, and the industry association, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) to promote ground level action in Punjab and Haryana against the menace of stubble burning that is causing major environmental concern in the region.
To mark the launch of the initiative in this year in Ludhiana and Barnala districts, CII in partnership with BPCL, organized a Farmer Field Day event on 4th September 2019 in Daddahur Village, Raikot Block, Ludhiana bringing together over 1000 farmers and students from 25 villages. Representatives from CII, BPCL, PAU, Department of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare and government officials addressed the farmers.
CII Foundation, with field support from GBDSGNS Foundation, is working towards creating largescale awareness in the villages involving progressive farmers, school children and youth volunteers, encouraging farmers to adopt sustainable farming and improved stubble management practices. In partnership with Punjab Agricultural University, CII plans to organize a number of training events in the villages to help farmers learn about the scientific aspects of improved straw management practices. The initiative is also supporting farmers to procure and use farm machineries collectively, to enable them to undertake “mulching” and other improved in-situ straw management methods at a largescale.
To know more about CII Foundation’s initiative on crop residue management, drop a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +91 124 4309443