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ICAR Revolutionizes Agriculture with Pusa Bio-Decomposer, A Game-Changer for Stubble Management

A survey conducted among paddy farmers in the area uncovered a prevalent lack of knowledge regarding the Pusa bio-decomposer, along with doubts about its effectiveness.

Shivangi Rai
This initiative was aimed at naturally decomposing paddy stubble, effectively converting it into valuable manure. (Image Courtesy- Freepik)
This initiative was aimed at naturally decomposing paddy stubble, effectively converting it into valuable manure. (Image Courtesy- Freepik)

Farmers in the key paddy-growing regions of Punjab and Haryana have shown limited interest in adopting the Pusa bio-decomposer, a technology developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

This reluctance comes amidst growing concerns about paddy stubble burning, an environmentally harmful practice. The Pusa bio-decomposer was designed to naturally decompose paddy stubble, effectively converting it into valuable organic manure.

A survey of paddy farmers in the region revealed a widespread lack of awareness about the Pusa bio-decomposer and skepticism about its efficacy. Many farmers claimed they had not been approached or informed about the technology. For example, Sadhu Singh, a paddy farmer in Mohali, stated that he had no information about the technique and had not been approached by any authorities regarding its adoption. Instead, he mentioned using straw as fodder for cattle.

Jagtar Singh, a resident of Ramgarh Manda, also expressed ignorance about the bio-decomposer, noting that nobody had visited their village to inform them about the technology or its benefits. Similar sentiments were echoed by Gur Singh, another farmer from Mohali.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government in New Delhi had announced plans to provide a free bio-decomposer spray facility to cover 5000 acres of paddy fields, but the government in Punjab, also under AAP leadership, had not offered free bio-decomposers to its farmers. The reason cited was a difference in soil type between New Delhi and Punjab, affecting the results of the bio-decomposer.

According to AAP spokesperson Malwinder Singh Kang, the decomposition process took longer in Punjab, causing delays in crop sowing.

Kang mentioned that the Punjab government had taken other measures to control stubble burning, including banning certain rice varieties and establishing industrial units to purchase stubble from farmers. Efforts were also made to provide alternatives for farmers, such as subsidizing happy seeder machines and offering them for free through cooperative societies.

In contrast to Punjab, the neighbouring Haryana government was providing a free bio-decomposer facility to farmers, but the results did not meet farmer expectations.

ICAR is actively working to improve the Pusa bio-decomposer, with a focus on shortening the stubble decomposition window to make it more viable for farmers.

Dr Parvender Sheoran, Director of Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI) at ICAR in Ludhiana, explained that the current decomposition window of 20 to 30 days in Punjab was not conducive for farmers. Research is ongoing to make the bio-decomposer work more efficiently, with the goal of decomposing stubble within 25 to 30 days.

Dr Sheoran also highlighted that the failure of the Pusa bio-decomposer in some cases was due to farmers not maintaining the necessary levels of moisture and temperature to facilitate stubble decomposition, which is essential for its effectiveness.

Punjab produces approximately 22 million tons of paddy stubble on 7.5 million acres of land each year, and a significant portion of this is burned, causing environmental damage. Efforts to educate farmers about the benefits of bio-decomposers are seen as a potential solution to reduce stubble burning and its harmful consequences.

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