Dr. Jyoti Dhakane-Lad is a Scientist at ICAR-CIRCOT in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Her interests are Agricultural Processing and Utilization of agro-biomass residues for green packaging.
Dr. Jyoti Dhakane-Lad says harvesting of various crops generates large amount of residues both on and off-farm. Globally, biomass production from agriculture is pegged at 140 billion metric tons per year. In India, around 500 million tons of crop residue is generated annually, out of which nearly 140 million metric tons surplus crop residue biomass. A large portion of which (around 90 million metric tonnes per year) is burnt in the field by farmers, due to lack of technical awareness for its alternative uses and lack of proper disposal opportunities. Rice and wheat are major field crops that produce large volume of residues in India. Sugarcane tops, leaves (2%) are surplus residue, which are burnt after the harvesting by the farmers in the fields. On-farm burning of crop residue causes, negative impact on desirable soil properties and hazard to environment through emission of greenhouse and other gases. Other crops as oilseeds, pulses, chilli and cotton generate surplus residues which have limited utilization as domestic fuel. In-situ utilization of crop residue biomass i.e. incorporation in soil, mulching would prevent environmental degradation and retention of soil nutrients and minerals. However, diversified utilization of agro-biomass, such as composting and mushroom cultivation, production of paper/board/panel and packing material, and bio-fuel and energy production for domestic and industrial application would benefit large number of stakeholders.