Delhi – nurture.farm, an integrated technology-led solutions provider for sustainable agriculture globally and a part of the OpenAg™ network of UPL, Wednesday announced their programme to end stubble burning practices in the states of Punjab and Haryana by replacing the matchstick with a spray service for the PUSA decomposer, a bioenzyme developed by the ICAR-Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI). It decomposes the stubble within 20-25 days after spraying and turns it into manure, improving soil quality. The company has signed up over 500,000 acres in this programme and onboarded more than 25,000 farmers who will be availing this sustainable agriculture practice free of cost.
This comes as a great relief to farmers, citizens, and policymakers alike. Every year, the deliberate burning of 5.7 million acres of rice paddy stubble contributes to polluting the air with toxins, making it unbreathable for people in the nearby cities. The stubble burning impacts the soil quality while nutrients and microbes die and so does any other flora and fauna that comes in the fire’s way. However, the lack of any other viable choice pushes the farmers to burn the crops, as burning is cheaper, faster and clears the land in time for the next cropping cycle.
Highlighting the initiative, Jai Shroff, Global CEO, UPL said, “The initiative will go a long way in benefiting both the farmers and society-at-large. Our commitment to sustainability remains unparalleled. Through OpenAg™, UPL is creating a network that changes the way a whole industry thinks and works and will help make the agricultural process more sustainable.”
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Speaking on the initiative, Dhruv Sawhney, COO and Business Head, nurture.farm said: “75 per cent of Indian farmers are owners of land which span a hectare or less. For them, time and resources are limited, and so they are risk-averse to try new things. They are aware of the negative implications of crop burning, but lack of access to the latest technology and farm mechanisation pushes them to burn the crop. Any delay in handling leftover stubble directly affects their next cropping cycle, which has a domino effect on their yield and ultimately their income.”
“This is where nurture.farm steps in and acts as the facilitator of PUSA, a bio-decomposer developed by IARI. Partnering with IIM Rohtak, we have developed an entire ecosystem where the farmers can register for the service via our nurture.farm app and avail our large spraying machines to decompose their stubble. Offering the service free of cost incentivises the farmers to adopt practices that ensure sustainable outcomes, which is the core of all our services at nurture.farm. This will have a direct benefit on the farm’s sustainability as well as the environment and public health,” he added.
The protocol verification and oversight of the project have been developed in collaboration with IIM-Rohtak. Prof. Dheeraj Sharma, Director, IIM Rohtak said, “With this initiative, we can create a direct impact by piloting a sustainable agricultural model at this unprecedented scale and proportion. Stubble burning is a major cause of environmental and economic concern. By devising a framework to produce, procure, and make the PUSA decomposer spray available at the grassroot level, we are confident about putting an end to this unhealthy practice.”