Mechanization and TechnologyState News completes largest crop residue management program across Punjab and Haryana

Inaugural Project Saves Over 420,000 Acres From Being Burnt & Prevents 1,038,965 tonnes of Co2 Being Emitted, with 92% overall stubble burn avoidance across the enrolled farms.

09 December 2021, Bengaluru: has published the results of Crop Residue Management (CRM) Program completed in the state of Punjab and Haryana in India. It’s the largest project to eliminate stubble burning in India. The CRM program impact report has evidenced benefits across reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improvements in soil health and farmer livelihoods, as well as reduced usage of fertilizers.

Results published in the CRM program impact report indicates 92% overall stubble burn avoidance across the enrolled farms, with close to 420,000 acres of land saved from being burnt, resulting in the prevention of 1,038,965 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from being released. through its CRM program supported over 25,000 farmers across 23 districts across Punjab and Haryana with access to farm mechanisation, and a bio-enzyme to decompose their crop stubble. Over the course of the project, over 1000 field personnel from led a fleet of more than 700 boom sprayers which serviced over 420,000 acres of paddy fields with the bio-enzyme, developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), free of cost to the farmers. The PUSA bio-decomposer enzyme decomposes the stubble in 20-25 days, increasing organic carbon in the soil and maintaining overall soil health.

Satellite monitoring of the paddy fields was done in partnership with the European Space Agency. The satellites were able to identify farms that had been burnt at least once between 2018-2020, and was also used to help analyse farmers adherence to the program. For ensuring the program’s efficiency and scale, developed three mobile applications to improve farmer connectivity and educate farmers on regenerative practices, conduct area mapping, arrange spraying schedules, and monitor machine and equipment use.

Highlights of the CRM Program Impact report include:

  • Overall burn avoidance: 92% of acres enrolled (97% in Punjab; 86% Haryana)
  • Prevention of emissions: 1,038,965 tonnes of carbon dioxide; 141,612 tonnes of ash, 42,697 tonnes of carbon monoxide; 2,135 tonnes of particulate matter; 1,423 tonnes of sulphur dioxide
  • 20-25% reduction in fertilizer usage and cost for next cropping season
  • 20% increase in additional farmer income via short duration crops and yield improvements
  • Over 25,000 farmers educated in stubble burning avoidance mechanisms

Dhruv Sawhney, Business Head and COO of said “Stubble burning in India has been one of the most problematic contributors to pollution and public health outcomes – yet despite its catastrophic impact, almost all previous efforts to curb its practice have not succeeded. This program has proved to be a major breakthrough, and we are pleased with the results of the CRM program, through which we have established a viable, scalable, alternative method to stubble burning, and a brighter future for sustainable agriculture in India.

Technology has been the backbone in the scaling up of this project through identifying target fields, connecting and educating farmers, facilitating access to mechanisation and equipment, and creating a shared ag-economy. As India embarks on its pathway to foster a low-carbon economy, efforts to eliminate stubble burning must be a key priority for our government, and we are confident that through collaboration and concerted action, we can effectively #EndTheBurn and eliminate this over the coming three years. This is just the beginning for and we look forward to embarking on more impactful projects to foster the growth of resilient farmers and make sustainable outcomes a reality for all.”

Dr. Ashok Kumar Singh, Director of IARI said, “Recent scientific and technological progress has seen the creation of uplifting tools and technologies that can help farmers thrive. Technology driven solutions have to be made accessible and affordable for the farming communities. We are so pleased to have worked with to change this endeavour and help farmers harness and deploy a revolutionary bioenzyme that supports their farms and their livelihoods. The completion and impact of this project marks a significant step forward for Indian farming communities and societies, global food systems, and our overall planet health.”