International Commission on Irrigation & Drainage Commission Interationale des Irrigation et du Drainage

ICID Webinar on Conservation Agriculture in the Context of Rice-Wheat Cropping System


Date: 1 November 2021, 15:00 - 16:30 Hours Indian Standard Time (IST) +5:30


Rice Wheat cropping systems (RWCS) in Indo-Gangetic planes have played vital part in ensuring food security of India. However, this cropping system has raised concerns over the sustainability of agriculture, effect on and producing deteriorating effects on soil health, excessive water consumption and also producing residual in soil and water. Rice and Wheat cropping system in North Western states produces 34 million tons of paddy residues of which Punjab contributes about 65% i.e. 22 million tons. In Punjab, Paddy and wheat crops are harvested through mechanized harvesters. While, wheat straw has been used as fodder for animals, paddy straw with high silica contents remains on field amounting about 5 tons per hectare. Disposal or utilization of rice straw in small window of 20-25 days for timely sowing of wheat is a paramount task. Absence of appropriate cost-effective technologies during paddy harvest and wheat sowing period, induces residue burning, as it remains the easiest option for farmers.


About the Webinar:

There are numerous concerns that have been flagged with crop residue burning in agriculture. The main apprehension is deteriorating soil health which occurs due to nutrient losses. Burning of crop stubble increases the temperature in the soil up to 33.8–42.2 °C. Long-term burning also reduces total nitrogen and carbon, the potentially mineralized nitrogen along with a loss in the soil organic matter. ITC Limited during course of implementation of sustainable agriculture programme for last three years have concluded that the crop residue management should have win-win approach where farmer get benefitted with good production and lower the operational costs and in the same way ecosystem/environment also protected.  Paddy stubble is burnt as a quick and labour-saving measure to prepare the fields for sowing wheat in the Rabi season. Burning releases smoke and fine particulates in the air, adversely impacting air quality in the region.

ITC provided alternative solution both in-situ and ex-situ mechanism, which was adopted by farmers in large area. Paddy crop produces about 2.5 tonne of residue per acre, which they burnt it. ITC deployed a ‘comprehensive ecosystem approach’ to facilitate change of farmer behaviour and adoption of in situ incorporation on a scale that would drastically reduce the incidence of stubble burning in the district. The approach mobilised all stakeholders – farmers, the Agriculture Department, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, machinery owners and hirers – and made farmer training widely available and ensured infrastructure sufficiency to enable on-time farmer access to machinery during harvesting.

Initiated implementing the project since 2018 with 46 villages and amplified in 416 villages during this year 2021 to make agriculture practices climate smart and reduce stubble burning by 90 % in the project area. Last year under the project about 84% area has been ensured under Non-burning from the total area of 1,09,295 acres with coverage of 9756 farmers in 253 villages of Kapurthala District. A snapshot of the conservation method wise has been provided at the bottom.

For the better understanding about the field practices being followed by the farmers and to discuss the challenges faced by the farmers to adopt new technologies with round the year engagement extension mechanism from paddy sowing to wheat harvesting in achieving the conservation agriculture in paddy through Direct seeded rice and Machine Transplantation and on other hand minimum tillage through Happy Seeder and Super Seeder technology in Wheat crop.

S. No.






Paddy – DSR





Non-Burning Area





Wheat – (Minimum Tillage)




In this webinar the whole ecosystem in achieving the conservation agriculture ranging from awareness activities, structured modular trainings, farmer groups meetings and impact of the work can be showcased along with this year plan of action with the machinery mapping and linkage with farmers to achieve the 86,000 acres minimum tillage in wheat crop.

Speaker – Er. Paavan Kumar Reddy Gollapalli, (YP, ICID & Programme Executive, ITC Limited)


Reddy currently working with ITC Limited as a Programme Executive of Watershed to plan, review and monitor the natural resource management works of the Social Investments Programme in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Reddy is having a rich experience in evaluation of irrigation schemes, micro irrigation systems and adoption of new technologies in tackling the field level problems. Mr. Reddy graduated from Acharya N G Ranga Agri. University with Agricultural Engineering (B. Tech.) and having a PG Diploma in Remote Sensing & GIS from Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Dehradun. He is actively representing in the ICID platforms for technology learnings and mobilizing the rural non-profit organizations to adopt the methodologies in the local context. He is experienced in Crop Residue Management and Water Stewardship designing and implementation.

Panellist Speaker: Dr. R.N. Sankhua (India)


Dr. R.N. Sankhua presently working as Chief Engineer, (South), NWDA, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Govt of India,  belongs to 1990 batch of UPSC Engg. Services. He obtained his B.E.(Hons) in Civil Engg from NIT-Rourkela with top position and then continued his Masters in IIT-Kharagpur. Subsequently, he obtained his M.E.(Hons)(WR) and Ph.D. from IIT Roorkee. He contributed 183 papers to International/National Journals/Int Conf and completed 23 Projects on remote sensing & GIS. He guided 7 Ph.D. theses and 30 Master’s in water resources from IIT Mumbai and University of Pune. During his tenure as Director at National Water Academy, Pune he organized 60 training programs and delivered more than 1650 lectures in water resources in NWA, IITs, NITs, Universities and many institutes of repute. He mentored the studies on i) Reassessment of basin wise water potential of India using space inputs in association with ISRO, ii) Basin planning study of Brahmani-Baitarani with CSIRO, Australia and Integrated Reservoir Operation & IWRM studies. As Chief Engineer, South, he guided and accomplished the Detailed Project Reports of Godavari-Krishna, Krishna-Pennar, Pennar-Cauvery, Cauvery-Vaigai-Gundar and Damanganga-Ekdhare-Godavari (DEG), Damanganga-Vaitarna-Godavari (DVG) and Bedti-Varada-Dharma River links.

Panellist Speaker: Dr. M.L. Jat, Principal scientist and systems agronomist, CIMMYT (India)


M.L. Jat is a principal scientist and systems agronomist who coordinates research on sustainable agriculture in maize and wheat based systems across Asia. Jat specifically leads CIMMYT’s climate smart agriculture research portfolio in South Asia as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, where he focuses on developing and scaling conservation- and precision-based agriculture.


He also coordinates WHEAT’s sustainable intensification activities and leads the capacity development of Asian stakeholders through advanced training courses on conservation and precision agriculture, as well as climate smart agriculture and farming systems. He regularly provides strategic support to CIMMYT’s sustainable intensification efforts by initiating local, national and international partnerships, engaging policy planners and mobilizing resources for scaling sustainable intensification and climate smart agriculture in maize and wheat systems. 

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