To tackle stubble burning, phase out long-duration varieties: PAU experts : The Tribune India

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To tackle stubble burning, phase out long-duration varieties: PAU experts

To tackle stubble burning, phase out long-duration varieties: PAU experts

Smog engulfs Chandigarh-Patiala highway on Saturday. TRIBUNE PHOTO: RAJESH SACHAR



Tribune News Service

Mohit Khanna

Patiala, November 18

In the wake of a growing number of farm fires in the state, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, maintained that phasing out paddy is not a viable option and emphasised on banning long-duration varieties.

Experts at the PAU highlighted potential benefits of segregation of sowing, reducing stress on underground water extraction and effective management of paddy stubble with the use of short-duration varieties.

The biggest challenge is maturing and harvesting of paddy crop at the same time across the state, thus leaving farmers and the government with a narrow window to manage a huge quantity of residue.

Dr Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice Chancellor, PAU, suggested to focus on promoting short-duration varieties, which can be harvested in the beginning of October. Besides such varieties would offer farmers and the government agencies ample time to manage crop residue, he said.

“We have given some suggestions to the government on encouraging short-duration varities. To overcome crisis, long-duration varieties should be phased out,” said Gosal.

“Despite flooding, farmers managed to get a bumper crop, thanks to short-duration variety PR 126,” he said.

GS Buttar, Director Extension, PAU, said the government had taken a step in this direction and banned sale of ‘PUSA 44’ and ‘Peeli PUSA’.

He said, “Paddy can’t be phased out as long as we do not have a viable alternative kharif crop, which provides sustainable returns.”

Buttar added that shifting from paddy to other crops would not be a wise move. “It will discourage investors who are buying stubble management machinery and setting up infrastructure in the state to manage crop residue,” he said.

Dr Sukhpal Singh, chairman, Punjab State Farmers’ Commission, said, the Centre should assure minimum support price for alternative kharif crops.

Bumper harvest

We should focus on promoting varieties, which can be harvested in October. Despite flooding, farmers managed to get a bumper crop, thanks to short-duration variety PR 126. — Dr Satbir Singh Gosal, vice chancellor, PAU

Need alternative

Paddy can’t be phased out as long as we do not have a viable alternative kharif crop. It will discourage investors who are setting up infrastructure to manage crop residue. — GS Buttar, director extension, PAU

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Agriculture #Environment #Farm Fires #Pollution #Punjab Agricultural University PAU #Stubble Burning


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