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12   AgriTech indiA  September 2018                                                                                                 Article


          The ‘Happy Seeder’ in search                                           particulate  matter,  150  kg  of   rising and the soil drying up,   of  the  technology  is  under
                                                                                 carbon monoxide, 3,650 kg of
                                                                                                         necessitating additional water
                                                                                                                                           Simultaneously,
                                                                                                                                 way.
          of helping hands                                                       carbon dioxide, 498 kg of ash   for irrigation. And last, but not   the   organisations   have
                                                                                 and 5 kg of sulphur dioxide.
                                                                                                                                 started
                                                                                                         the least, livestock is impacted
                                                                                                                                                     for
                                                                                                                                        crowdfunding
                                                                                    This  is  corroborated  by   by  crop  burning,  with  milk   procurement of Happy Seeders
           A campaign and fundraiser are trying to persuade farmers in Haryana   several research organisations,   yields  reducing  up  to  50  per   and  hope  to  hand-hold  the
                                                                                 including  the  World  Health
           and Punjab to opt for technology instead of using the polluting       Organisation,  that  say  the   cent  during  the  two  months.   farmers as they sow their crop
                                                                                                                                 in  November.  In  December,
                                                                                                         This  results  in  less  earnings
           method of crop stubble burning in the sowing season this winter       higher  presence  of  these   through selling milk.  they  hope  to  present  their
                                                                                 pollutants triggers or worsens   The  initiative  began  with   impact  reports,  images  and
                                                         crowdfunding for five Happy   chronic  diseases  such  as   identifying  the  farmers  to  be   videos  to  share  with  donors
                                                         Seeder  machines,  they  aim  to   asthma,   bronchitis,   heart   targeted  and  developing  a   and  others.  The  trio  is  also
                                                         make  at  least  1,000  acres  of   attacks,  and  have  long-term   technology platform for them   inviting citizens to personally
                                                         land  crop  residual  burning-  adverse  impact  on  people’s   to  book  the  Happy  Seeder   visit  the  beneficiary  farmers
                                                         free.                   health.  The  TERI  air  quality   machine.  In  due  course,  an   and  project  sites  to  see  how
                                                            Under  their  campaign,   report  commissioned  by  the   extensive  behaviour  change   their contribution is making a
                                                         christened  ‘No  Burn  Farm’,   Ministry of Heavy Industries &   campaign   for   adaptation   difference on the ground.
                                                         they will offer a renting model   Public  Enterprises  shows  that
                                                         involving the FPOs. “We have   biomass  burning  contributes
                                                         been  trying  to  convince  the   significantly  to  air  quality
                                                         farmers  that  the  problem  of   deterioration.
                                                         smog  does  not  only  impact   The   No   Burn   Farm
                                                         the  city  dwellers.  The  village   campaign  is  also  trying  to
             ctober-November  is  the   Yuvti   Vikash   Mandal   children,  pregnant  women   communicate  to  farmers  that
          Ocruellest   months   for   (GYVM), Delhi-based Ecociate   and  elderly  are  also  seriously   crop  burning  is  not  the  best
          people  living  in  the  National   Consultants and Communique   impacted,”  says  Saroj  Kumar   method  to  remove  stubble
          Capital  Region.  Heavy  smog   Marketing  Solutions  —  have   Mohanta, Director and Practice   and has negative implications
          slowly  drifts  in  and  hangs  in   come  together  to  work  with   Head   -   Business   Model   for the food system. For one,
          through  the  winter,  sending   farmers in the Pundri block of   Innovation at Ecociate.  the  nutrients  present  in  the
          Particulate   Matter   (PM)   Kaithal in Haryana.  He  points  towards  the   stubble are wasted in burning
          levels  soaring  to  a  hazardous   Using  various  strategies,   startling statistics. An acre of   and farmers have to spend on
          degree. Hospitals are crowded   including a massive campaign   paddy field produces around   chemical fertilisers to maintain
          with  patients  complaining  of   among   Farmer   Producer   2.5  tonnes  of  stubble  which,   soil  quality.  Burning  leads
          respiratory complications.  Organisations   (FPOs)   and   on burning, releases 7.5 kg of   to  the  ground  temperature
            In  a  climatic  emergency
          of  sorts,  citizens  are  advised
          to  wear  masks  when  they
          venture  out  of  their  homes.
          Schools are shut for weeks till
          the smog slowly dissipate and
          an odd-even vehicle policy has
          to be put in place.
            Every  year,  the  Delhi
          government   protests   to
          neighbouring   States   —
          Haryana and Punjab — to put
          an  end  to  stubble  burning,
          one of the crucial contributing
          factor to winter pollution. Last
          year,  it  contributed  to  60  per
          cent of Delhi’s smog.
            The  stubble  is  burnt  by
          farmers  ahead  of  the  sowing
          season.  They  say  they  have
          no  option  but  to  set  fire  to
          the remnants of the previous
          harvest  before  they  can  start
          the  seeding  process  afresh,
          even  though  it  results  in
          copious  amount  of  smoke
          being   emitted   into   the
          atmosphere.
            But a new technology that
          was tested last year holds out
          hope.  Called  Happy  Seeder,
          the  tractor-mounted  device
          has  the  capability  to  cut  and
          lift  the  previous  crop  (in  this
          case the rice straw) and sow a
          new (wheat) crop in its place.
          It also deposits the straw over
          the sown area as mulch.

          The downside
            While  the  Happy  Seeder
          demonstrated   its   efficacy
          on  the  fields  last  year  and
          several  farmers  who  saw  it
          function  were  enthusiastic
          about  using  it,  they  found
          its  price  prohibitive.  Costing
          Rs.  1.70  lakh  and  to  be  used
          for only two months in a year,
          it  was  not  seen  as  a  worthy
          investment.
            So,  to  make  it  viable
          for  farmers  and  to  expand
          the  technology  as  widely  as
          possible so that the same levels
          of  pollution  are  not  repeated
          this  year,  three  organisations
          —  Haryana-based  Grameen

























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          Freedom Fighter Enclave, Neb Sarai, New Delhi - 110068 (India). Editor : Syed Jafar Naqvi
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