It is a known concern that burning farm stubble in Punjab and Haryana was the cause of choking people in Delhi and surrounding areas last year. While the fields were breathing fire, a farmer called Chandrashekar Bhadsavle in far away Maharashtra invented a simple solution that made them breathe easy, and can even help the farmers boost their income.
The Maharashtra Government liked Bhadsalve’s idea so much that their different departments have been using the expertise to boost farmers’ income and also stop forest fires. According to agriculture experts and scientists, the method can be implemented widely and holds a lot of promise.
The method is SRT (Saguna Rice Technique) farming. By using the SRT technology, tillage is completely avoided. The residue of the earlier crop (in this case paddy stubble) is disintegrated into the soil by using weedicides and microbial cultures. Bhadsalve, who is a Masters in Food Microbiology from UC Davis (USA) got the idea when he realized that the current technique of farming was flawed. The current methodology uses tillage indiscriminately which kills the nutrients. What’s amusing is that the soil is then fed with fertilizers to boost the same nutrients. Instead, we can simply increase the organic carbon content of soil which increases its fertility.
The technique has caught on in Maharashtra, where 2,500 farmers use his technique. The results from Vidarbha especially have been overwhelming, where cotton farmers are using the SRT technique and swear by its success.