Regenerative farming, cover crops will help farmers increase yields, reduce stubble burning: IDH CEO

Regenerative farming can help farmers economically and reduce stubble burning. Public and private participation is key for long-term solutions. New technologies are needed to increase yields and preserve soil fertility. Protecting crops from the effects of climate change is crucial. Farmers need support for a fair deal in the value chain. IDH is working in India to improve soil quality and farmers' income through sustainable agriculture practices.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 29-03-2024 10:45 IST | Created: 29-03-2024 10:45 IST
Regenerative farming, cover crops will help farmers increase yields, reduce stubble burning: IDH CEO
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Regenerative farming, growing cover crops to prevent soil erosion and reinstilling nutrient contents will not only help farmers economically, but also reduce instances of stubble burning, Daan Wensing, global CEO of development agency IDH, said.

However, for a long-term solution to these issues, public and private participation will be necessary, he said.

''The important question is, how can you do regenerative farming? How can you increase yields without expanding the farming area? ''This needs new technology, new solutions. We are partnering with public and private players to work on these new solutions, test them across landscapes,'' Wensing told PTI here.

''We need to find ways to take out the stubble through various processes, distil the nutrients back into the soil,'' he said and advocated for adopting new technologies to enhance the organic carbon content of soil to preserve fertility.

Instead of stubble burning which causes emission, he said, applying new methods to improve soil health will serve the dual purpose of increasing yields and reducing CO2 emissions.

''If we work with farmers and create a good baseline in terms of the carbon content of that farm and apply the new methodologies, and the carbon content actually increases and the emissions become less, we can link this with commitments with the carbon markets and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs),'' he said.

The CEO also had a suggestion to protect crops from the vagaries of nature, especially during the summer months.

''In 2023, depending on the crops, drops in yields was 20-40 per cent around the world because of drought, heat strokes, or too much water,'' he said.

''If we want to tackle this, the whole value chain needs to be organised so that the risks are shared to transform the agricultural system. One of the things the IDH is testing is regenerative farming, which will improve the quality of the soil, which has carbon benefits.

''Besides, creating cover crops will be a key way to not only incentivise the farmers, but also create shade and a microclimate on a farm and in a landscape, which will fight heat waves and help retain more water in the soil,'' he said.

The CEO said the increase in the number of farmer protests around the world is largely because ''they are not getting a fair deal''.

''Even my home country (the Netherlands) has had farmers' protests and when you look at them, irrespective of the country, the common denominator is that the farmer is at the receiving end of the value chain.

''As a society, we want environment stability because of climate change and loss of biodiversity. And the responsibility often falls entirely on the farmers. If we don't support them in this transition, and if we put all the risk and cost on the farmer, they have no vehicle room,'' Wensing said.

IDH India Country Director Jagjeet Singh Kandal said the presence of organic carbon content of the soil in many parts of the country is reducing to below one per cent. ''This is not going to be conducive to growing crops with high yield. We need to reduce use of chemical fertilisers and go back to natural farming methods where we turn waste into manure.'' Complimenting the central government's focus on doubling the farmers' income, Kandal said, ''Farmers need two things: an assured market and an assured price for their produce. We must try and provide them with that.'' Netherlands-based IDH works in the agriculture value chain and is present in several countries across continents. In India, it is working in 10 states, and has already partnered with governments as well as the private sector.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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