Karnal farmers putting paddy stubble to good use

Bales used as packaging material

Karnal farmers putting paddy stubble to good use

Stubble entrepreneurs purchase paddy straw for Rs 100-150 per quintal and after processing it, sell it for Rs 300-400, making good profit. Tribune photo: Sayeed Ahmed

Parveen Arora

Tribune News Service

Karnal, October 21

Amid rising number of stubble burning cases, there are several farmers who have become stubble entrepreneur in the district and are collecting paddy straw from different villages. They are utilising it to earn profit by making bales and racks.

These bales are sold for fodder purpose to various states such as UP, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, MP and Maharashtra and others. Besides, these bales are used in packing of different materials such as tiles, bathware glassware and sanitary items.

Used as feeder for power plants

We can use the stubble as feeder for the power generating plants. Moreover, these can be reused as packaging material for brittle items like glass, ceramics and marbles. Gujarat and Rajasthan are the leading states that procure stubble for using as packaging material. —Dr Anuj Kumar, Principal scientist, IIWBR

Bales sold to other states

We collect paddy straw from farmers and make racks and bales with the help of pressing machine. After making bales and racks, we sell these to Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and other states. —Vikram Rana, A young entrepreneur of nigdhu village

As per an estimate, there are around 100 such entrepreneurs who are not only helping in eradicating the menace of stubble burning, but also providing employment to rural population throughout the year. They also encourage other farmers not to burn the stubble but to sell crop residue to them for earning money as well as stubble management. They purchase paddy straw for Rs 100-150 per quintal and after processing it, they sell it for Rs 300-400 per quintal.

Ram Niwas, an entrepreneur of Koer village who has been involved in the business of straw management for the last nearly 25 years, said the government is now extending full support to farmers for straw management. The farmers should come forward for the best utilisation of stubble. “We purchase stubble from farmers from different villages. The rate depends on the quality of paddy straw. After processing it, we sell it to different states,” said Ram Niwas.

Similarly, Vikram Rana, a young entrepreneur of Nigdhu village who has been involved in this business since 1998, is providing job to around 40 persons throughout the year and nearly 150 persons in a season. “We collect paddy straw from farmers and make racks and bales with the help of pressing machine. After making bales and racks, we sell these to Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and other states,” said Rana, adding that they are purchasing paddy straw at Rs 170 per quintal and selling it between Rs 400 and 500 after making bales and racks from raw straw. However, after rise in fuel prices, they transport cost has become dearer.

Another entrepreneur said on the condition of anonymity that farmers could earn good business from straw management instead of setting it on fire. “We are managing the straw in a better way, and encouraging the farmers to do so,” he added.

Dr Anuj Kumar, Principal Scientist at the Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR), said how management of stubble could have multi-dimensional impact on the farm lifecycle and the farm economy. “In northern India, farmers mostly burn the stubble before starting a new crop. This practice has severely impacted the environment in the region, especially during the winter season. We must understand that there are now technologies that can translate stubble into immense wealth creation. The farmers just need awareness on these technologies and collaborate with the market ecosystem to sell the stubble, rather than burning it and polluting the environment,” he added.

"We can use the stubble as feeder for the power generating plants. These can be reused as packaging material for brittle items like glass, ceramics and marbles. Gujarat and Rajasthan are the leading states that procure stubble for using as packaging material," he added.

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