Why Punjab’s short-duration paddy varieties have not solved stubble burning

News: Supreme Court’s suggested a two-day lockdown amid sharp deterioration in the National Capital Region’s air quality.

The government’s efforts in the past decade provided positive results, and the ratio of land under short-duration varieties to the total land under paddy has more than doubled—from 32.6 percent in 2012 to 67.7 percent in 2021.

What are the issues in stubble burning?

Damage to public health from severe air quality has produced few ideas, that too, suffer from poor implementation.

Despite heavy subsidies on straw management equipment, farmers keep protesting that these remain economically unviable.

The government failed to recognise that burning coal, biomass, and farm residue alongside land desertification contribute to 85% of air pollution.

Missing inter-governmental action– The proximate link to poverty, energy needs, waste management, and land degradation demand concerted inter-governmental actions.

Contrastingly, the districts where short-term crop varieties witnessed an increase, have seen a rise in straw burning incidents.

Reasons for the increased straw burning incidents:

The primary reason behind it is the low yield, due to which farmers cultivate an additional set of crops, such as potato, peas, green lentil, between kharif and rabi.

Even those farmers who have grown short-duration varieties, that fetched great prices, have used the time between rabi and kharif to grow a third crop and thereby increased income.

What actions are taken to tackle the crisis?

New crop variety-The old long-term variety used to leave just 10 days for sowing between kharif paddy to rabi wheat. Farmers started using short-duration varieties, especially PR 126, which give a window of over 35 days to farmers.

-It incentivizes farmers to not use the crop burning methods.

Source: This post is based on the articles “Why Punjab’s short-duration paddy varieties have not solved stubble burning” published in Down To Earth on 16th November 2021 and

Our airpocrisies: For air quality crisis take aim at farm residue burning, land desertification, not lockdowns” published in Times Of India on 16th November 2021.

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