Punjab farmers unable to afford stubble management machines: Study - ECAS Punjab

Punjab farmers unable to afford stubble management machines: Study

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Vishav Bharti

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 9

Despite spending a huge amount on subsidising crop residual management (CRM) machines, Punjab has failed to curb stubble burning due to poor implementation of various schemes.

This is the finding of a recent study which highlighted that the unavailability of CRM machines was a major hindrance in tackling crop residue burning.

Key recommendations to curb fires

  • Need for a central coordinating mechanism for stubble management and crop diversification
  • Address farmers' misconceptions regarding reduction in yield due to the use of Happy Seeder and other measures
  • Hike in subsidy from Rs 2,500 per acre to Rs 3,000 per acre

The study, 'Addressing Air Quality Spurts due to Crop Stubble Burning during Covid-19 Pandemic: A case of Punjab', has been conducted by the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, New Delhi. Later, it was adopted as a part of series of policy briefs on Punjab by the Centre for Development Economics and Innovation Studies at Punjabi University, Patiala.

According to the study in 2019, 10 types of crop residual management machines, including zero till drill, paddy straw chopper, RMB plough, mulcher, super SMS, cutter-cum-spreader, super seeder and super master were sanctioned for distribution in Punjab. As many as 22,854 machines were to be delivered among farmers on subsidy. However, the state government could make available only 14,625 machines.

Besides, the study found that in-situ management machines were still unaffordable to many farmers despite the provision of subsidy. A 'Happy Seeder' costs Rs 1.5 lakh and requires a 65-horsepower tractor. Small farmers can't buy the machinery, even with the 50 per cent subsidy. "Constraints in the supply chain and rental markets are other issues impacting adoption of machines like the Happy Seeder," it said.

Though the government provides 80 per cent subsidy to cooperative societies to rent out machines to farmers, most of the societies do not have funds to buy the machinery.



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