Second largest rice producer of world-India,produces around 130 million tons of rice straw annually.But the Indian farmers do not have options for the disposal of rice straw.Half of the rice straw is used as cattle feed while for another half they do not find economically viable means to dispose off the rice straw.
Most of Indian farmers burn their rice straw in their fields to get rid off it before the beginning of new season.However burning rice straw is not economically beneficial as on burning it harmful gases like carbon monoxide, methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide,sulphur oxide and large amount of particulate matter are released which is harmful for both human health as well as environment.
Farmers are yet to realise the importance of rice straw in form of manure or as a useful raw material for various industries like brick manufacturing industries, power companies and paper and packaging industries.Farmers of major rice growing states of India like Haryana and Punjab have tried to find various means to dispose off the rice straw efficiently and to get some income from it.
Some agricultural specialist have proposed a composting technique which can convert huge piles of rice straw into organically rich rice soil. Since this whole process takes 45 days so farmers find it more labour intensive and considering all rice production costs, they are not sure of assured returns.
Another Method called “mulching”was also suggested by agricultural specialist.In this process rice straw is spread all around the soil surface and is allowed to decompose naturally by the activity of worms and other micro organism.Although some farmers have adopted this technique , but it is not so much popular.
In this backdrop, farmers want an easy and quick way to decompose rice straw.Farmers are aware of multiple options available for managing agro waste but they will give up burning rice straw only when they will receive handsome income from them.Government can stop the farmers from burning their rice straw by international carbon trading.