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UP asks farmers to use stubble to feed stray cattle

cow cattle
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The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has asked farmers to feed stubble to stray cattle instead of burning it in the fields which adds to air pollution in a big way.

The state agriculture department has, in fact, proposed funding carriage of stubble to shelter homes meant for stray cattle.

Additional chief secretary (agriculture) Devesh Chaturvedi in a letter sent to district authorities, has said that funds would be availed from the state finance commission.

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As per an estimate, Uttar Pradesh is the highest producer of agricultural residues followed by Maharashtra and Punjab.

The state government’s move comes close on heels of the Punjab government’s proposal last month to plough paddy crop residue into animal fodder, especially cattle.

According to a report prepared by the ministry of agriculture and farmer welfare in 2019, stubble burning is rampant in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Stubble burning is done to clear fields for rabi crop (wheat and potato) sown during October and November when the time window between harvesting paddy crop and sowing for next crop is very short — about 2-3 weeks. The report, however, categorically states that the use of paddy straw as fodder is ‘limited’ due to ‘high silica content’.

The agriculture department has also pressed for a state-wide campaign, provisioning exchange of stubble with manure like cow dung.

At the same time, the state government has proposed roping in workers under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for digging up pits in which bio-compost could be prepared.

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