Farm fires dip in Punjab, farmers prefer selling off straw : The Tribune India

Farm fires dip in Punjab, farmers prefer selling off straw

Farm fires dip in Punjab, farmers prefer selling off straw

Fodder scarcity has resulted in selling of wheat stubble. File



Tribune News Service

Aman Sood

Patiala, April 20

A 75-year-old farmer from Doraha, Jasbir Singh, and hundreds of others are not burning wheat stubble this year. With 30 to 40 per cent increase in cattle feed prices recently, leading to fodder scarcity, farmers have stopped burning stubble and, instead, started selling it off.

Not just in Punjab, farmers across many states are facing cattle feed shortage.

Data from the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) confirmed that Punjab had seen only 67 field fire incidents after the crop harvesting due to high prices of wheat stubble in the market.

In 2019, Punjab reported 8,921 farm fire incidents while the number was 11,014 in 2020 as compared with 9,806 reported in 2021. “The window of farm fires is from April 16 to May 20, but this year due to high price of wheat stubble, only a few straw burning incidents have been reported and that too from a small area,” said PPCB officials.

“A majority of farmers in Malwa and Doaba are taking the wheat straw to Rajasthan, where it is fetching around Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 per quintal. Others are selling it off in state markets,” said Karundesh Gar, member secretary, PPCB. “With social media and awareness campaigns, farmers are not burning stubble,” he said.

According to Jasbir Singh, the price of dry fodder, made of wheat straw, had almost doubled when compared with last year. “In many cases, farmers have stored wheat straw expecting price rise in summers,” he said, adding wheat straw was essential for dry fodder for cattle.

Wheat leftover that was fetching somewhere around Rs 1,100-1,500 per quintal last season is now selling between Rs 2,800 and Rs 3,000 per quintal.

“One acre of farm gives around two quintals of wheat straw and burning it gives me nothing, while 18 farmers from my village have decided to sell it off in Rajasthan. This way, we save on labour and transportation cost too,” said Jaskaran Singh, who owns over 50 acres in two villages of Khanna and Patiala.

Rs. 2,500/quintal

A majority of farmers in Malwa and Doaba are selling wheat straw in Rajasthan, where it is fetching around Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 3,000 per quintal. — Karundesh Gar, member secretary, PPCB

#Doaba #Environment #farm fires #farmers #Malwa #Pollution #PPCB #stubble burning

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