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  • Context (DTE): The GoI released Crop Residue Management (CRM) operational guidelines 2023-24 for UP, Haryana, Punjab, MP and the NCT of Delhi in July 2023.
  • It aims to decrease pollution from stubble burning and involve more farmers in supplying agri-residue to support bioenergy plants.
  • Burning one tonne of paddy straw releases 3 kg of particulate matter, 60 kg CO, 1,460 kg CO2, 199 kg ash and 2 kg SO2 into the environment.

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Release of major pollutants in to the atmosphere during residue burning

Crop Residue Management Operational Guidelines 2023-24

  • Techno-commercial pilot projects for the Paddy Straw Supply Chain will be established under bilateral agreements between the Beneficiary/Aggregator and industries using paddy straw.
  • Beneficiary/Aggregator means Farmers, rural entrepreneurs, Cooperative Societies of Farmers, Farmers Producer Organizations (FPOs), and Panchayats.
  • Financial Assistance: Government will provide financial aid for machinery & equipment capital costs.
    • The industry and the beneficiary can finance the working capital together or through sources like the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, NABARD, or financial institutions.
  • The beneficiary needs to arrange and prepare the land for storage of the collected paddy straw.
  • Financial assistance for supply chain equipment like higher HP tractor, cutters, balers, rakers, loaders, grabbers, and telehandlers.
    • Setting up machinery for the paddy straw supply chain costs approximately Rs 1 crore for 3,000 tonnes and Rs 1.8 crore for 4,500 tonnes per season.
    • The government provides a subsidy on the rounded-off amount of Rs 1.5 crore.
  • Project Approval: State Governments will approve projects via project sanctioning committees.
  • Cost Distribution: The government (Central and State jointly) will contribute 65% of the project cost, the industry will contribute 25%, and the beneficiary will contribute the remaining 10%.
  • The central regulatory bodies: The Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) and State Agricultural Departments.
  • Objective: To collect 1.5 million tonnes of paddy straw in the next three years by the establishment of 333 collection centres with a total financial assistance of Rs 600 crore.
CRM 2023-24 CRM 2020-21
  • Includes Madhya Pradesh
  • Did not include Madhya Pradesh
  • It includes the industry as an active stakeholder and requires a contribution of 25% towards the capital.
  • The industry was not a stakeholder.
  • The central and state governments are dividing the funding 60:40, apart from the NCT of Delhi (for which it remains 100:0)
  • The Centre was funding these projects completely. No funding requirements from the state governments.
  • The state/district nodal agencies choose the farmers. However, the tasks required to arrange capital and bargain with the industry have been left up to the farmers.
  • The state/district nodal agencies chose the farmers, and full assistance was given with regard to procuring the required capital for machinery through loans.
  • The government, industry and the farmers divide the capital costs, with the government contributing 65 per cent, industry 25 per cent and farmers (through FPOs, SHGs, etc) 10 per cent.
  • The farmers and the government bear the capital costs. The government provides farmers subsidies of 50 per cent in the case of individual farmers and 80 per cent in the case of custom hiring centres.

Crop residue management

  • It refers to the systematic handling and utilization of leftover plant material, such as stems, leaves, and roots, after harvesting a crop.
  • The objective is to efficiently manage and repurpose crop residues to enhance soil health, prevent environmental degradation, and promote sustainable agricultural practices.

Crop residues

Crop residue management Techniques (On Farm/Off Farm) Disposal

Crop residue management Techniques

On field Management

Surface retention and mulching

  • It involves placing a layer of material on the surface of the soil. Crop residues can be used as mulch.
  • Advantages: Moisture retention, Weed suppression, Temperature regulation, Soil improvement, Erosion control.

Composting

  • Composting is a biological process in which microorganisms, mainly fungi and bacteria, decompose degradable organic waste into humus-like substances in the presence of oxygen.
  • This finished product, which looks like soil, is high in carbon and nitrogen and is an excellent medium for growing plants.
  • It increases the soil’s ability to hold water and makes the soil easier to cultivate. It helps the soil retain more plant nutrients.

Off-field managements

Baling and removing the straw

  • Crop residue (CR) from agriculture can be put to various applications, but only if it is transported off the field.
  • Straw baler machines are promising commercial technology for removing and collecting straws of rice and wheat.

    Straw baler

Livestock feed

  • In India, the CR has traditionally been used as animal feed (or supplemented with chemicals).
  • On the other hand, Crop leftovers are unappealing and have a low digestibility; thus, they cannot be used as a sole feed for cattle.
  • Rice residues are considered poor cattle feed due to their high silica concentration.

Production of the mushroom crop

  • Mushroom growing is a profitable agri-business that creates food from rice and wheat straw while also supporting ecologically friendly waste disposal.
  • The paddy straw mushroom,is regarded as one of the easiest mushrooms to cultivate due to its short 14-day incubation.
  • Rice straw can provide 5-10% mushroom products (50-100 kg mushroom/1 tonne of dry rice straw).

    Mushroom crop

Biochar production

  • Biochar is charcoal that is used as a soil amendment (minor improvement).
  • It is created using a pyrolysis process (decomposition brought about by high temperatures), heating biomass in a low-oxygen environment.
  • Once the pyrolysis reaction has begun, it is self-sustaining, requiring no outside energy input.
  • By-products of the process include syngas (H2 + CO), minor quantities of methane (CH4), organic acids and excess heat.
  • The syngas and excess heat can be used directly or employed to produce a variety of biofuels.
  • Biochar can be made from CR such as rice straw.

Biochar

Biogas production

  • Biogas is a type of biofuel that is produced by anaerobic digestion of organic matter.
  • It provides an immediate reduction in CO2 levels in the environment.
  • 300 m^3 of biogas may be produced by anaerobic digestion of one tonne of rice residue.

Biogas

Industrial uses of CR (Rice,Wheat)Straw

  • Bioethanol Production.
  • Production of rice-straw briquette and pellets.
  • Paper-pulp/Board/Eco-panel making.
  • High-value industrial products for commercial Use. (Lignin, silica cellulose, and hemicellulose present in CR constitute high-value compounds).

Farmers’ Producer Organisation (FPO)

  • It is a group formed by farmers, including those in dairy, fishing, weaving, and craftsmanship.
  • It can take various legal forms, such as a Producer Company or a Cooperative Society.
  • It operates as a hybrid of cooperatives and private companies.
  • FPOs follow cooperative principles but function similarly to professionally run private companies.
  • They are created and registered under the Companies Act.
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