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Crop Burning Issue – ₹2 Hack Over ₹2000 Solution

The Green Revolution in India was started in the year 1961; the revolution was a necessity as the population of India was increasing and the amount of food for the people was decreasing. Various technological reforms such as HYV ( High yield variety ) seeds, machines for harvesting, irrigation facilities, etc were introduced for increasing the per acre production of wheat, jowar, rice, pulses, etc. During the harvesting of these crops, manual labor was used extensively and on a daily wage basis. To substitute this, combined harvesters were brought into practice, which could cut and store the harvested crop. However, the drawback of the machine was that it cut the part of the plant which had maximum value and left the rest of the crop (40% of the original plant) as it is. This practice led to one of the most challenging problems of crop residue management.

Every year, around 300-400 million tons of crop waste in the states of Punjab and Haryana is produced, out of which 85-90% is burnt. This problem is not new to the farmers in northern India, but effective management of crop residue has not been in practice since the Green Revolution. Every acre of rice cultivation produces about 2-3 metric tons of crop residue which need to be disposed of in the short duration of 3 weeks. Disposing of this much waste without any help of laborers is not feasible for the lone farmer. For this certain machines like THS (Turbo Happy Seeder) have been introduced. What the THS does is that it converts the left out straws of rice crop into fine particles and spreads them evenly on the field or mulches it into the ground. This device is placed on tractors and is also capable of sowing wheat seeds evenly over the entire field. After the subsidy is provided, the cost of one unit of THS can go up to 1.3 Lakhs. There are over 2000 THS owned by the farmers in Punjab which are used occasionally. But still, these many numbers of THS will not even scratch the surface of the problem. A survey conducted by the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences estimates that around 1.2 Lakhs of Happy Seeder are required to cover the entire area of Punjab’s agricultural land. There are approximately 15 manufacturers in India who produce the THS and it is not possible for every farmer to buy this machine, so certain governmental organizations, as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌private‌ ‌distributors, give these machines to farmers on an acre basis. The government also provides subsidies on these machines for farmers to become independent from the THS rental services. The SSMS (Super Straw Management System) is a machine which increases the efficiency of the Happy Seeder. The government has tried to provide the farmers of Punjab with solutions while considering the needs and problems of every farmer. But the problem remains and is becoming worse day by day. So why are the farmers still not responding to the problem? One reason could be that even though the government has developed solutions, they are failing to implement it on a large scale or it could be the reluctance of the farmers to avail the facilities provided to them. It is by nature of human beings to resist change and in this case, farmers are being asked by the government to change their practices, these are the practices which they have been doing for a long time. Even though a majority of them understand the issue of crop burning and want to avoid burning of crop residues, but due to inaccessible technologies & fluctuating economic conditions, farmers try to avoid using these machines and resort to the easiest method of disposing of the waste i.e. burning.  It costs about 2000 for using THS on a rental basis for a land of 2-3 acres whereas it costs only about 2 for burning the entire crop residue. 

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