Stubble burning amid hovering fodder value ranges: Why the paradox

A field of wheat stubble in flames in Punjab. Photo: Dimple Behal
A area of wheat stubble in flames in Punjab. Picture: Dimple Behal

A weird paradox emerged within the principal financial sector in India not way back: Part of farmers, primarily in Punjab, burnt the residue simply after harvesting their wheat whilst fodder prices shot up.

Wheat generate has been pretty diminished this calendar 12 months, in any case, and the stubble may have supplemented farmers’ revenue. But, they decided to set their fields on fireplace. Why?

Quite a few farmers instructed Down To Earth that they took to burning stubble as they’d been in a rush — the state skilled set June 10 because the date to sow paddy.

Fodder in Punjab is acknowledged as ‘tudi’ and is manufactured from wheat stubble. The tudi value within the level out was Rs 950-Rs 1,100 per quintal forward of the wheat harvest in April. This remodeled to Rs 400-Rs 800 for each quintal in varied sections of the situation quickly after the harvest.


Farmers burnt wheat stubble even with these excessive prices. The Punjab Distant Sensing Centre, Ludhiana, recorded 11,650 cases of stubble burning until May 29 this yr, in opposition to 11,468 final 12 months.

Dyant Singh, a 46 yr-outdated farmer from Kathar village in Jalandhar district, suggested this writer that burning the wheat stubble was the least difficult approach to do away with it. He was in a rush to take action as a result of reality the Punjab govt skilled declared June 10 because the date to sow paddy.

“Different processes this type of as flooding the topic to make the stubble softer after which ploughing it, is time-consuming. Both you waste a complete lot of ingesting water or contaminate a little or no air. It’s a trade-off that now we have to make,” Singh mentioned.

The day for planting paddy has been introduced ahead to preserve ingesting water in Punjab. The window involving the harvesting of wheat and sowing of paddy shrank with the enactment of the Punjab Preservation of Subsoil H2o Act, 2009.

The Act implies that for conserving groundwater, transplanting of paddy must be carried out by June 10, when essentially the most excessive section of evapo-transpiration is above.

One more trigger for farmers burning wheat stubble in Punjab is the dimension of land holdings. The typical land maintaining within the level out is 3.62 hectares (ha), in line with governing administration data.

Ever extra, marginal, smaller and medium land holders, possessing lower than 4 ha of land are probably selling out or largely renting their farms to vital farmers who can come up with the money for funds-intense agriculture together with excessive priced gear.

A farmer typically will get two trollies of fodder — round 16-17 quintals — per acre. For buying the an identical fodder, a farmer has to fork out Rs 1,200 per trolley to the fodder maker, who makes use of his equipment and tractor to vary stubble into fodder.

The farmer will likely be succesful to offer fodder for Rs 16,000-17,000 for every acre on the stage of Rs 1,000- 1,100 per quintal.

The farmer can receives a commission throughout Rs 13,600-14,600 from an acre of the farm simply after shelling out the fodder maker. People smaller holding farmers who simply can not afford to promote / rent their land, have uncovered that a simple possibility for controlling the crop stubble is to burn it. Due to this fact, the fires.

The Punjab federal authorities has, but dispersed 76,622 machines to farmers and personalised using centres on a subsidy of Rs 1,000 crore from the Union govt since 2018.

These gear solely do successfully in extracting the stalk, however not the upper side of the roots that are left untouched. The federal authorities has additionally begun providing farmers Rs 1,500 as an incentive for not burning the leftover stubble for a farm of a single kanal or .05 hectares.

Nonetheless, there have been being modest and medium farmers who informed this author that they positioned no motive to burn the stubble. As a substitute, they ploughed it, which proved helpful.

Purushottam, a farmer with a medium-sized farm, additionally in Kathar, reported, “I’ve been doing this for the earlier ten years. I’ve seen excellent alterations within the farm. Whereas, it is rather fast to soften away stubble, it harms the main soil, which laborious like a brick. Contemplate strolling greater than that patch.”

He additionally positioned it uncommon that farmers who didn’t abide by the federal government’s rules pertaining to not burning stubble, adhered to rules about sowing paddy speedily.

“I’ve ample time to sow paddy. Additionally, ploughing the farm continuously instantly after harvesting wheat would make the soil fairly supreme for paddy and in addition doesn’t pollute the air. I’ve additionally seen the quantity of fertiliser lower within the soil prior to now decade,” Purushottam claimed.


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