28 October 2020. A ¡®Virtual Workshop and Demonstration on Integrated Management of Straw Residue¡¯ was co-organized today by the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and partners in China including the China Institute for Conservation Tillage of China Agricultural University, Qingdao Administration of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Laixi Administration of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and Qingdao Zhitao Agricultural Machinery Specialized Cooperative.
Burning of straw (crop residue or stubble left on the field after harvesting) is a common concern in many countries in Asia and the Pacific. Due to lack of low-cost, effective, and technically feasible approaches to utilize straw, farmers frequently burn the straw in the field which leads to air pollution, adverse impact on public health, environmental degradation as well as agricultural losses resulting from soil impairment.
To address this issue, CSAM is implementing a regional initiative on Integrated Straw Management which aims to identify, test and promote an integrated model of straw management using agricultural machinery, thus contributing to attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger) as well as Goal 1 (No Poverty), Goal 12 (Sustainable Production and Consumption) and Goal 13 (Climate Action). This initiative has so far engaged with six countries for launching pilot projects and/or knowledge sharing.
As part of the regional initiative, the Virtual Workshop and Demonstration was organized to share the good practices and experiences on integrated management of straw residue from participating countries in Asia and the Pacific, and to demonstrate relevant machinery and their application at the China pilot site. Over 500 participants from China and other countries and institutions took part in the event online and offline.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Yutong Li, Head of CSAM, said ¡°This event is especially timely at the current juncture when the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the entire agricultural value chain in many countries of the region and brought into focus the vulnerability of food systems and the farming community (especially smallholders) to shocks. Sustainable approaches such as integrated straw management which build the overall resilience of the farming community can - and must - be an important part of the longer-term solution.¡±
Organized in hybrid (virtual + on-site) mode, the event was enriched by views and perspectives contributed by senior representatives from China Agricultural University, Qingdao Administration of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and the People¡¯s Government of Laixi City. Experts from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Nepal and Viet Nam also shared knowledge and experiences on the status of straw residue management and pertinent mechanization-based solutions in their countries. Among the highlights of the event was an onsite demonstration on the practical application of agricultural machinery for integrated straw management which was broadcast live from the China pilot site in Laixi, Qingdao.
Overall, the Virtual Workshop and Demonstration underscored the potential of agricultural machinery to promote integrated and sustainable management of straw residue and help address the common problem of burning of residue. It noted the importance of actively promoting such technologies and solutions through strong, multi-stakeholder partnerships while recognizing the vital role for international cooperation and sharing of good practices amongst countries.