At the Good Earth Expo at CII Agro Tech 2016, one learns how industry and academia contribute to solving the burning issue of pollution by rice, straw; several useful products result when science is applied to waste
It is easy to close your eyes in the smog that envelopes you after region’s farmers burn rice straw at around this time everyyear. However, a look at some of the stalls at the Good Earth Expo CIIAgro Tech 2016 show that workable solutions to convert the waste intovaluable organic manure and other products like PH balancer are very much in the works. Commercial and market applications of the processesare also in the works.Meet Mr Sanjeev Nagpal, a senior member of CII from the agri sector, a mechanical engineer from PEC, now PECUniversity of Technology, of the 1980 Class who has set up a plant inFazilka on 5acres of his 13 acre land that converts rice straw intovarious products like power, organic manure, PH balancer and bio-gas.His company SampurnAgri Ventures Pvt Ltd (SAVPL) buys rice straw, thecause of so much pollution and brouhaha these days, from the farmersat between `1 and `1.5 per kg and converts it into organic manure.“Research on the project started in 2007 and in 2012, construction ofmy plant started. We are processing around 15 tonnes a day and willhit the market as soon as approvals from the PAU and other governmentagencies fall in place. We will sell three types of organic manureprepared from rice straw,” says Nagpal, who says sustainableagriculture has been his key area of concern.
He adds that the design of the plant and the processes have been donein partnership with IIT-Delhi and the rice straw waste is somethingthat his company will easily tackle.“Around 100 tonnes a day of paddy straw can easily be tackled at myplant,” Nagpal adds.
Straw to button mushrooms: There are other stalls at the show, including one by PAU, that educatesfarmers on ways straw can be converted into useful products. Forinstance, a combination of wheat and rice straw can be used to growbutton mushrooms.Rice straw when applied between the seedlings of a crop can alsogive increased productivity. There are companies thatactually convert rice straw into Mulch sheets. The PAU stall has several othermethods listed out that a farmer can use. One can hope for proactivesolutions to emerge for other crops as well, where the wastemanagement is still not that much of a headache. Cotton waste can nowbe used as a fuel, with wheat waste used as animal feed. The CII Agro Tech 2016 offers some truly remarkable but practical solutions for the rice straw problem.