Delhi has always been on the top of the list of most polluted cities of the world. In order to improve the air quality in the capital several initiatives have been taken over the years to increase the green cover. Despite this, the situation has not improved significantly. Stubble burning in the nearby states has been held responsible for this.
A new study has found that farmers in north India can not only help reduce air pollution but also improve the productivity of their soil and earn more profits if they stop burning their crop residue and instead adopted the concept of no-till farming.
The researchers compared the cost and benefits of 10 distinct land preparation and sowing practices for rice-wheat cropping rotations prevalent in north India, spread across more than four million hectares. They also collected primary data from 1,015 farmers in Punjab.
Based on this, they have concluded that the direct seeding of wheat into unploughed soil and with rice residues left behind was the best option. It saved on water, labour and use of agro-chemicals, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and improved soil health and crop yield and thus benefitting both farmers and the society at large.
The Happy Seeder option will eliminate air pollution by crop burning and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from on-farm activities by more than 78 per cent relative to all burning options.
The Happy Seeder-based systems are on average 20 per cent more profitable than the most common ‘burnt’ systems and almost 10 per cent more than the most profitable burning options, as per the study.
The study has been published in journal Science.
Happy Seeder is a tractor-mounted device. It cuts and lifts the residue of the previous crop (in this case the rice straw) and sows a new crop (wheat) in its place. It is a direct sowing machine that is capable of seeding for the new wheat crop even in the presence of the rice straw residues on the soil surface without any tillage.
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The CSR Journal Team