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 causing serious environmental and health problems, including from trans-boundary air pollution. Since 2018, CSAM has been implementing a regional initiative on integrated straw management through which positive results have been attained from pilot projects in China and Viet Nam, particularly in terms of offering suitable mechanization-based alternatives to burning of straw residue and effect on crop yield and farmers’ income. India has also joined the regional initiative as a knowledge sharing partner and hosted a study tour in 2019. This initiative is currently being expanded to Cambodia, Indonesia and Nepal.
Conservation Agriculture has acquired increasing significance in recent times to address land degradation and declining yields in the agricultural sector. Its adoption is especially important for resource-poor smallholder farmers. Sustainable agricultural mechanization can play a key role in implementing the principles of Conservation Agriculture. In this context, in May 2019, CSAM co-organized a ‘Regional Training on Appropriate Scale Mechanization for Conservation Agriculture’, in collaboration with partners in Cambodia. This Regional Training was a follow-up to a ‘Regional Workshop on the Role of Mechanization in Strengthening Smallholders’ Resilience through Conservation Agriculture in Asia and the Pacific’ organized in 2018.