From burning to conserving residues: The role of machinery service providers in disseminating conservation tillage
Abdullah Thaseem Muhammed Shah1, Arshakh Thazhathu Veettil1, Kesavanath K. Sreekumar1, Archana Raghavan Sathyan1, Vijayalaxmi D Khed2, A G Adeeth Cariappa2, Vijesh Krishna2
1Kerala Agricultural University, College of Agriculture, Vellayani, India
The green revolution has boosted cereal production in South Asia by intensifying rice-wheat systems across the Indo-Gangetic plains. However, the increased intensity has resulted in limited turn-around time between rice harvest and wheat sowing, creating a challenge for farmers to sustainably manage rice residues. Alongside mechanisation of rice harvest, this time limitation has led to burning of residues, causing air pollution and serious health externalities for human beings. Conservation tillage technologies (CTTs), such as zero-tillage and minimum tillage, could help by minimising soil disturbance and provide an economically viable use of surplus rice residue as mulch. Despite proven economic and environmental benefits, adoption of CTTs is limited in Indian rice-wheat systems. For instance, around 7% and 34% of farmers use CTTs like Happy Seeders and Super Seeders, respectively, in Punjab. We postulate that providing adequate access to tillage machinery through service provision can speed up the diffusion process of CTTs among smallholder farmers.
Keywords: Crop residue management, mechanisation, service provision, technology adoption
Contact Address: Vijesh Krishna, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Sustainable Agri-food Systems, ICRISAT Campus, 502324 Hyderabad, India, e-mail: v.krishnacgiar.org