PA/18/17 18 December 2017
Sowing the seeds for the Happy Seeder Revolution
Each year, Punjab and Haryana generate an estimated 30 million tonnes of paddy straw, which is later set to fire and believed to be a major contributing factor to air pollution.
A new project led by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) could help address the ongoing environmental issues of stubble burning.
Titled “Value chain and policy interventions to accelerate adoption of Happy Seeder zero-tillage in rice-wheat farming systems across the Gangetic Plains,” the project aims to build the momentum for the Happy Seeder revolution. Happy Seeder is a proven zero-tillage solution—that is, seeds can be planted directly into stubble without the need for land clearing or tilling, eliminating the need to burn crop residues. An excellent example of practical cooperation between Australia and India, it was developed by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and Australian engineers and scientists with support from ACIAR a decade ago.
The Australian High Commissioner to India, Ms Harinder Sidhu, has welcomed the initiative. “ACIAR investment to develop the Happy Seeder has been an outstanding success,” she said.
“Through this new project, we can work collaboratively with Indian partners to not only ensure better productivity and soil health, but also address the issue of stubble burning.”
The project kicked off with a workshop hosted by the International Food Policy Research Institute in Chandigarh. The workshop brought together officials from the central government and states of Punjab and Haryana, including research scientists, extension officials, farmers, and manufacturers of machinery to discuss ways to promote adoption of the Happy Seeder technology.
ACIAR will work with the Centre for Global Food and Resources at the University of Adelaide and Indian partners from government and the agribusiness sector to deliver the project.