Roots Foundation to train nearly 50,000 farmers of Punjab and Haryana to tackle stubble burning
Every winter, the burning of crop residue of over 30 mt in Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana causes the pollution levels to rise exponentially with PM 2.5 and 10 levels reaching 'severe' categorization. To address the challenge, Roots Foundation, a social enterprise, working closely with the farming community, announced on October 11 a Sensitization and Training Program for farmers of Haryana and Punjab.
Crop residue or stubble burning has become a national problem. The residues of wheat, paddy and sugarcane are burnt across India at different times of the year. Stubble burning increases pollution levels in several northern states to severe levels, and high levels of PM 2.5 pose a serious threat to health.
Every winter, the burning of crop residue of over 30 million tonnes (mt) in Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana causes the pollution levels to rise exponentially with PM (particulate matter) 2.5 and 10 levels reaching 'severe' categorization. In Punjab alone, 80% of 20 million tonnes of rice stubble is burned in situ (on the farm) only. Delhi-NCR also faces the brunt of stubble burning.
To address the challenge, Roots Foundation, a social enterprise, working closely with the farming community, announced on October 11 a Sensitization and Training Program for farmers of Haryana and Punjab. The Foundation, which has been working with more than 2 lakh farmers in the region since 2017 on promoting various good agriculture practices, in association with experts from Wazir Advisors and agriculture universities, aims to encourage farmers not to burn stubble.
The extensive three-month Program has the aim to sensitize, educate, train, and support nearly 50,000 farmers of these two states in the next three months.
Ritwik Bahuguna, Founder, Roots Foundation and Partner Wazir Advisors said, “On the lines of UN’s sustainable development goal of ‘responsible consumption and production’, the Program aims to make a difference by educating farmers and generating their buy-in against stubble burning.”
“Under the programme, our experts focus on the use of a mix of in situ (on the field) and ex situ (off the field) practices. In in-situ our focus has been on promoting the use of happy seeders and Pusa Decomposer whereas, in ex situ, emphasis is on linking farmers to markets,” he added.
“The problem of stubble burning requires the active participation of all stakeholders. We, as a fulcrum, are making all efforts to ensure seamless transfer of knowledge to farmers,” said Dr Makhan Singh Bhullar, Principal Agronomist & Head - Department of Agronomy, Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana.