IARI developed PUSA decomposers are the most effective solution of stubble burning: Dr Sunil Pabbi, HOD, Microbiology, ICAR-IARI, PUSA

The Delhi and Punjab governments have proposed to use PUSA bio-decomposers, a microbial solution that can decompose the Agri-residues and emerged as possible stubble burning solutions. PUSA Bio-decomposer will be sprayed over 5,000 acres or 2,023 hectares of land in Punjab.  

Dr Sunil Pabbi, Head, Division of Microbiology, ICAR-IARI, PUSA, spoke about the significance of the bio-decomposers capsules and how they will be a game-changer in coping with stubble burning. Excerpts of the conversation. 

Q) Kindly help us to understand how significant bio-decomposers are and how they will curb stubble burning. 

The rapid bio-decomposer is a microbial solution that turns stubble into manure. These microorganisms are very versatile in terms of their capabilities; they would eat all kinds of compounds and substrates for their living. Primarily, the bio-decomposers decompose Agri-residues and convert them into nutrients for plants in the form of manure. 

There is also a natural process where these organisms would be acting on substrates and Agri-residues, but that process is a time-taking, as the available window with farmers in between harvesting the crops and then sowing a new seed is very short. These PUSA bio-decomposers comprising efficient microorganisms will cause rapid decomposition of the Agri-residues when put into the soil. 

Q] Since when IARI started working on PUSA bio-decomposers?

Our team has been working on this product for a long time and conducting tests and demonstrations at various stages and in different regions. Along with the demonstrations carried out in Punjab and Haryana by IARI, the PUSA bio-decomposer was sprayed on 4,300 acres of land belonging to 844 farmers in Delhi last year. In 2020, 310 farmers had used it on 1,935 acres of land.

But this technology hit the gold three years back when it was demonstrated to the relevant stakeholders in several institutions, and we started getting effective results. PUSA bio-decomposers began gaining recognition as a possible stubble-burning solution. Looking at the practical results, government organisations took note of our product as they desperately sought answers to stubble burning. 

Q] Apart from Delhi and Punjab, will we see the use of bio-decomposers in other parts of the country?

We have carried out demonstrations in several states like Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Telangana and others for the last three years. During 2020-21, the capsule kits of the PUSA bio-decomposers were provided to the farmers of 17 states covering more than 5,000 ha area.

Similarly, about 6000 demonstrations were conducted during the Kharif 2020 paddy crop in UP, Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. I want to mention here that the product has also been tried and tested on Agri-residues like sugarcane trash and others, and the results were impressive.

The product is quite effective and can be used in other regions. The technology has been licensed to a number of firms and one of our licensee companies used it in over 420,000+ acres in farmers’ fields in Punjab and Haryana. Further, they plan to do service up to 10,00,000 acres in 2022.

Q] How cost-effective are bio-decomposers for general farmers?

IARI has licensed this technology to 18 companies for mass multiplication and marketing of the PUSA decomposers. IARI PUSA decomposer kit carries four capsules sufficient for a 1-hectare area and costs only Rs. 50. The overall cost of preparing a solution with these capsules will be even below Rs. 100. 

Q] What would be the ideal way to apply PUSA bio-decomposers? 

The Standard Operating Procedure for the PUSA bio-decomposers would be to apply it by spraying it over Agri-residue, Mix with soil using a rotavator followed by light irrigation to maintain moist condition. In all our awareness programs, we demonstrated the method to the farmers, government officials, and NGOs who have expressed their willingness toward the product.

Also Read || Initiatives like ‘Har Ghar Jal’ will show incredible results in nearby future: Praveen Kumar, DM, Burhanpur

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