Crop diversification, short-lived rice to help stop stubble burning: NRAA

New Delhi, November 5 () Promoting crop diversification and switching to a short-lived rice crop in Punjab can help reduce the problem of stubble burning and its impact on air pollution in the national capital, said the CEO of the National Rain Areas Authority (NRAA), Ashok Dalwai. Tuesday.

Rice can be grown in other parts of the country, but not in wheat, which requires winter, he said, adding that the state government should educate farmers to switch to non-rice crops by providing some incentive.

Delhi-NCR has been involved in air pollution since the Diwali festival on October 27.

One solution is to grow short-lived rice varieties. If we can harvest in September, farmers will have a longer window to undertake an adequate harvest and prepare the land for wheat planting, Dalwai said.

Currently, the window for rice harvest is about 20-25 days, pressing farmers to dispose of crop residues and prepare the land to sow wheat. On top of that, they face a labor shortage, he said.

Since Punjab has low groundwater levels and that rice is a crop that consumes water, Dalwai said: It is better that we change the rice crop and cultivate more water-efficient crops such as oilseeds and corn. That would solve the problem.

He also said that short-lived varieties of non-paddy crops should be encouraged as the concern of farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh is to prepare the land for winter wheat.

Dalwai, also chairman of the Farmers Income Duplication Committee, also said: We can easily move from rice in wheat producing states, since rice can be grown in many other areas of the country.

While wheat cannot be grown everywhere, since winter is required. Therefore, wheat cannot be compromised. That has to be here. So, we can look for an alternative for rice in northern India.

In stating that the country has many short-lived rice varieties, Dalwai said: We need to promote them. The level of performance must be observed to encourage farmers to change. This is not something impossible to do. We can always try these varieties and do it.

He also suggested that state governments can provide an incentive to switch to other crops.

In Haryana, compensation was granted in seven districts for the economic loss, if any, between rice crops and without rice. That type of compensation will promote farmers to take other crops, he said and added that farmers would grow those crops where yields are best.

He also said that there should be a holistic and ecological approach to the problem of burning stubble.

When asked if farmers are ready to move on to the rice harvest, Bhartiya Kisan Union coordinator from all over India, Yudhvir Singh, said farmers will take time to move to other crops, but that the government should promote crop diversification by providing some incentive.

However, to address the current problem, the Center should take the stubble of Punjab rice and distribute it as animal feed to 3 lakh of street cattle in Uttar Pradesh, he suggested.

There is a shortage of fodder in the country. The government can take this stubble for free and give it for 3 lakh of street cattle in Uttar Pradesh. This problem will be solved, Singh said. He also said that the wheat stubble is used as animal feed in northern India, but not as a residue from the rice crop. LUX MR MR