Seminar on paddy straw management kicks off at PAU
Intense deliberations on various themes were held
Ludhiana: The two day seminar on Paddy Straw Management Issues in Intensive Agriculture kicked off here today at Dr Khem Singh Gill Farmers' Service Center. The seminar is being held under the PAU project entitled, ‘Centre of Advanced Agricultural Science & Technology (CAST) on School of Natural Resource Management, funded by World Bank and sponsored by National Agricultural Higher Education (NAHEP) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, Government of India.
While setting the agenda for the day, Seminar Chairman, Shri K.S. Pannu, Secretary Agriculture, discussed how the slow adoption of stubble conservation technology among farmers is related to the ancient culture of burning stubble and cleaning the fields before sowing of the next crop. He also mentioned how North Punjab was more successful in adopting the techniques that ushered green revolution as compared to Southern parts of the state. “Similar situation is being seen in adoption of stubble management as majority of burning cases are from South districts of Punjab”, revealed Shri Pannu. He also shared the launch of a new machine called super seeder from the next season. While outlining in figures Mr Pannu divulged how refraining from burning paddy stubble resulted in increased organic carbon in the soil, thereby leading to massive decrease in the use of urea fertilizer and insecticides. He stressed on modifying or eliminating the paddy variety PUSA 44 which was one of the chief reasons forcing farmers to resort to stubble burning.
Co- Chairman, Shri Ashwani Kumar, Joint Secretary (Seed/ M&T), DAC&FW, Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi dwelled on new techniques and farmers’ awareness to tackle the issue, while Dr J.S. Mahal, Director Extension Education and one of the panelists of the day discussed the current status of issues for paddy straw management. Dr V.K Sehgal, Principal Scientist (Physics), IARI, New Delhi, Dr Anil sood, Head, Agro- Ecosystems and crop Modeling, PRSC, Ludhiana and Shri Harminder Singh Sidhu, GBDSGNS Foundation, Jalaldiwal explored various issues like the use of remote sensing to measure the amount of stubble generated, exploring ways to manage stubble of all crops grown around the country, increasing awareness among farmers, generating ways to help small farmers adopt technology etc.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, PAU Vice Chancellor and Padam Shri Awardee, Dr B.S. Dhillon, formally welcomed the dignitaries of the event and PAU alumni, Shri K.S. Pannu, Secretary Agriculture, Professor Marwaha, Chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board.
He also extended a cordial welcome to senior scientists from national and international institutes, administrators, representatives from the industry as well as farmers. While giving the example of various challenges faced before green revolution changed the face of agriculture in the country, Dr Dhillon made a similar case in point with regard to obstacles being faced in managing paddy straw. He called for exploring both ex situ and in situ straw management techniques; however he stressed on the importance of recycling nutrients within the soil as compared to the tedious procedure of collecting paddy straw, storing and transporting it. “We have made tremendous progress in managing the residue; with stubble burning cases down by 40% as compared to 2016”, emphasized Dr Dhillon. He urged for greater awareness among farmers as well as policy makers, while adding that at the technology front, a lot has been achieved but there is always scope for refinement and development of new techniques.
Intense deliberations on the following themes were held during the day: In-situ paddy residue management and farm mechanization based solutions chaired by Dr Jagir Singh Samra and co- chaired by Commissioner Agriculture, Punjab, Dr B.S. Sidhu; Analyzing and anticipating impact of in- situ paddy straw management on soil health and GHG emission chaired by Prof. S.S. MARWAHA, Chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board and co chaired by Dr B.S. Dwivedi, IARI, New Delhi; Research and extension strategies for addressing agronomic and plant protection consequences of new paddy residue management regimes chaired by Dr P.K. Ghosh Director ICAR and co- chaired by Dr D.S. Brar, Honorary Adjunct Professor, PAU and Scalable potential of ex-situ utilization of paddy straw in Punjab chaired by Justice M.S. Gill, and co chaired by Dr B.S. Dhillon, Vice Chancellor, PAU.
While giving further details, Dr O.P. Chaudhry, Organizing Secretary and Head, Department of Soil Science, PAU, said that the seminar is aimed at reappraisal of technological and dissemination strategies with respect to prevention of paddy straw burning and water conservation. He further added that the seminar proposes to come up with recommendations and refinements in research, extension as well as policy matters in order to find a complete solution to the problem. Participants also thronged the exhibition highlighting the seminar theme.