This SRA aimed to accelerate the adoption of ZT seed drills (including the Happy Seeder (HS)) to reduce crop residue burning and boost sustainable food energy water security.
The severe impact arising from the seasonal practice of burning rice stubble by farmers in north-west India results in poor air quality to the detriment of human health, including respiratory complications, increased human fatalities and injuries from road accidents and disruption to road and air transportation. Areas most severely impacted include the agricultural areas of Haryana and Punjab, and the nation’s capital New Delhi.
Stubble burning, combined with the traditional practice of tillage prior to crop establishment has a detrimental impact on soil health and quality. The development of Conservation Agriculture (CA) practices, characterised by the direct sowing of crop into standing (retained) stubble, is termed Zero-Till (ZT) and provides a real alternative to traditional farming techniques. The Happy Seeder (HS) developed specifically for the intensive rice-wheat cropping system of the Indo-Gangetic Plains (with significant project investment by ACIAR) is presented as the single most viable option for direct sowing of wheat crops into standing rice stubble. As State Governments move towards enforcing a ban of the burning of stubble across India, it is likely that there will be an increased motivation by farmers to adopt the HS. However, experience to date has indicated that HS adoption has been less than optimal, there is a need to identify how farmer adoption can be accelerated.
This project focussed on two distinctive regions of the Gangetic Plains, namely north-west India (states of Haryana and Punjab) and the Eastern Gangetic Plains (Indian states of Bihar and West Bengal) and northern Bangladesh, in order to address the following objectives:
- Understand the full range of stakeholder contexts associated with accelerated ZT seed drill adoption in each of the targeted states/regions.
- Improve knowledge and understanding of private sector and farmer constraints to zero-tillage technology adoption, and opportunities for supporting accelerated adoption of ZT seed drills.
- Inform policy makers and private sector to help create a conducive environment for the accelerated adoption of ZT seed drills for CA based sustainable intensification.