Indian Agriculture Research Institute partners with eight companies to ramp up the production of decomposer capsules as its pilot study shows promising results. Paddy Straw decomposer, finally a solution to stubble burning.
Affordable Solution to Stubble Burning: IARI Director
IARI director Ashok Kumar Singh claims that the decomposer is capable of dealing with all kinds of bio-masses. That said, it will enrich the soil along with reducing pollution. The capsule consists of a combination of different microbes that produce various hydrolytic enzymes that speed up the degradation process. Y.V. Singh, Principal scientist of the Microbiology division of IARI, Pusa stated that the decomposer is entirely organic. Besides, it is affordable as 25 litres of the solution made from four tablets each costing Rs 5 is enough to decompose crop residue over a hectare of field.
Farmers Raise Concerns
In early October, Chief Minister of Delhi and Development Minister Gopal Rai said that the authorities would see the use of bio-decomposer in and around fields of Delhi. Subsequently, the trials conducted on around 700 hectares in Delhi were promising. However, farmers raised their concerns over the delayed sowing of wheat. They complained that spraying of decomposer delays the sowing of wheat seeds, which eventually do not germinate as the moisture level increases.
Farmers’ Organizations and NGOs Helping in Promoting the Use of Decomposer
Initially, the institute has an aim of encouraging the use of decomposer capsules on 12, 000 hectares of land in four states. Singh stated that they are working with 50 farm groups in Haryana to promote the use of decomposer. Similarly, they have engaged with several non-government organizations in Uttar Pradesh. Accordingly, they encourage using the decomposer over 150 hectares in Ghaziabad. Further, the team is also working closely with Punjab Agricultural University to eliminate stubble burning in Punjab.
PAU Raises Questions over Microbial Technology
Dr Shammi Kapoor, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, PAU argues that microbes cannot manage paddy residue alone. Further, he stated that the integration of microbes with machine-based solutions is the need of the hour. Dr Kapoor and GS Manes, additional director of research have submitted a paper to the vice-chancellor on the management of paddy straw with microbes and machines. They said that their nine different microbial preparations are under evaluation at different locations varying with soil and climatic conditions.
In all, though with some scepticism, farmers are willing to use the decomposer capsule. However, they claim that they will see its effect on wheat yield to continue to its use in the future.