Farmers in the Indian state of Punjab are trying to adopt alternatives to avoid the burning of crop stubble that causes heavy smog and health problems not only in the neigbourhood but hundreds of kilometres away. The latest is the use of “waste decomposer” in the fields, prepared by the National Centre for Organic Farming, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. The “waste decomposer” is a solution in a small bottle prepared with effective micro-organisms. It is available to farmers for ₹20.
Jagat Singh, assistant director of the centre, said many farmers in Punjab had started using “waste decomposer” in their fields. He also said that the Kheti Virasat Mission of Punjab, an NGO dedicated to promote organic farming, had taken many bottles from the centre.
Balwant Singh Bains, sarpanch of Chak Bilga village of Nawanshahr, is using the “waste decomposer” and said, “The farmers have started responding and are using this to decompose the stubble too.”
Rajeev Kohli, director marketing, international relations, Kheti Virasat Mission, Punjab, said that the NGO had ordered more than 1,000 bottles from the centre and farmers had actually shown interest in the “waste decomposer”. “The initial response is positive and many farmers who are not connected with us directly have also been asking for ‘waste decomposer’ to avoid burning,” said Kohli.
Officials at the centre said the solution decomposed over 10,000 metric tons of bio-waste in 30 days and can be also used in foliar spray and via drip irrigation for in-situ composting of the crop residue. The solution can also be used for seed treatment. The officials further claimed that it could be used as a growth promoter, for soil conditioning and early germination to attain the maturity of the crop over time.