Agriculture PolicyBriefing

Indian Express Reports says Pusa Decomposer is Not Effective in Degrading Paddy Straw and Stubble

A field in Ludhiana, 2016. Photo by Vivian Fernandes

In an article on this website in October, 2020, we had said that the fungal mix of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) called the Pusa Decomposer was not very effective. Now Indian Express reports that the results of trials of bio-decomposers to decompose paddy stubble after the kharif harvest “are not very encouraging” and “overall decomposition was not very significant.” This, it says, on the basis of a presentation made by Punjab Pollution Control Board Member Secretary Krunesh Garg at a workshop in Chandigarh on 3 October.

The workshop was organised by Delhi-based organisation Climate Trends, which works on environment-related communications and capacity-building initiatives, Panjab University, and PGIMER, Chandigarh.

During the kharif season last year, bio-decomposers were used on an area of 7,000 acres, according to the presentation. In 2020-21, two bio-decomposers were evaluated at five locations “but the overall decomposition” was not significant, according to the presentation. This year, trials will be organised collectively by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Punjab Agricultural University, IARI and private players to “help all stakeholders to arrive at a common viewpoint regarding bio-decomposer effectiveness in the State”, it said.

After a discussion with the Delhi government, which has been spraying the decomposer on paddy stubble in the city for the past two years and has announced another round this year, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab announced last month that the decomposer would be sprayed on 5,000 acres of farmland in Punjab this year.

(Except for tweaks, this report is entirely that of Indian Express).

(Top photo is of a field in Punjab cleared of paddy straw and stubble with fire. By Vivian Fernandes)

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