The remote-sensing data from the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) shows a five-fold increase in the number of farm fires in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh during this year’s stubble burning season as compared to 2019.
The burning of paddy stubble left in the fields after harvest has been a cause of concern for the past several years as it contributes to air pollution in the northern Gangetic plains and its already polluted cities like Delhi.
What is the ‘Pusa Decomposer’?
- It is essentially a fungi-based liquid solution that can soften hard stubble to the extent that it can be easily mixed with soil in the field to act as compost.
- This would then rule out the need to burn the stubble, and also help in retaining the essential microbes and nutrients in soil that are otherwise damaged when the residue is burned.
How is the decomposer to be used by the farmers?
- There are seven strains of fungi that IARI has identified after research which help in rapid breakdown of hard stubble.
- These seven strains of fungi are packed into four capsules, which cost about Rs 20 per pack of four. But there is a process for developing the liquid solution from these capsules which can take about four to five days.
- It starts with boiling 25 litres of water mixed with 150 grams of jaggery, which scientists say has properties that help in multiplication of fungi.
- After this mix has cooled, 50 grams of besan (or gram flour) is added to it along with four ‘Pusa Decomposer’ capsules.
- This solution is then covered with a thin piece of cloth and left in a dark room for four days. On the fourth day, a thick growth of fungi will be seen on top of the solution. This has to be mixed well, and thereafter the solution is ready for use.
- A 25-litre solution is advisable for use in one hectare of land after being mixed with 500 litres of water. It can be sprayed over the field and left to do its work