EY Foundation India collaborates with India ParyavaranSahayak (IPS) Foundation to improve air quality

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Grants funds to help raise awareness and implement low-cost alternative solutions among farmers to reduce crop residue burning in Punjab
First phase to cover 300 villages in 5 districts with potential reduction of CO2 emissions by ~3 lakh tonnes over two years

03 July, 2018, New Delhi: EY Foundation India, the not-for-profit arm of Indian member firms of EY Global, today committed its support to the India ParyavaranSahayak (IPS) Foundation to implement a cost efficient and scalable solution to address the air quality issue in Northern India. The grants will be used to spread awareness and drive usage of in-field straw management practices among farmers to reduce air pollution caused due to crop residue burning. The first phase of the project will cover over 300 villages in five districts of Punjab, which have been observed to have high prevalence of crop burning.

Stubble burning is a common practice amongst farmers across north India, especially in the absence of economically viable and convenient solutions. According to the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, nearly 23 million tonnes of rice residue are burnt every year, releasing 34 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, causing large parts of north India to be covered in thick layers of smog. Exposure to this smog can lead to severe health and environmental hazards, experienced in several parts of North India every winter.

“At EY, protecting the environment is an important pillar of our commitment to Corporate Responsibility. Pollution caused due to crop residue burning across India has been a cause for concern for several years and needs immediate attention. Our support, extended to the India ParyavaranSahayak Foundation, is aimed at encouraging economically viable, easy to adopt and scalable solutions for the farmers. We hope this collaboration with the IPS Foundation will help us make a significant contribution towards addressing this challenge by increasing awareness among farmers and allaying their concerns”, explained Sridhar Iyer, National Director, EY Foundation India.

In February 2018, the Punjab government made it mandatory to use the Straw Management System (SMS), while using the combine harvester machines. Using the grants, IPS Foundation will raise awareness among farmers about the benefits of using in-field SMS combined with Happy Seeders, which will enable farmers to sow the next crop without clearing the standing stubble. The awareness programme will include roadshows, community meetings, product demonstrations, farm visits and technical trainings for farmers.

Ritesh Bhatia, CEO, India ParyavaranSahayak Foundation said, “We are happy to receive the support of EY Foundation India, which will enable us to enhance awareness and train farmers in adopting alternate straw management solutions. For any solution to be sustainable and widely accepted, it is important that it is cost efficient and convenient for the farmers to adopt. While several challenges exist, which have hindered wide-scale adoption of alternate technology to avoid burning, with consistent efforts and support from all stakeholders, this issue can be addressed.”

The cost of using a Straw Management System and Happy Seeder is comparable to the overall costs incurred by farmers in preparing the land after burning the crop residue. The system is estimated to not only help in increasing average yield of wheat by 2-4% over a period of time (as compared to conventional methods) but also lead to savings in water while improving soil health. Over the next two years, IPS Foundation expects reduction of CO2 emissions by ~3 lakh tonnes and water savings of 48 million litres.

About India ParyavaranSahayak Foundation

IPS Foundation is a not for profit entity incorporated under Sec 8 of Companies Act. It is represented by a group of young professionals from multiple business fields that intend to pool in CSR funds and work towards the cause of eliminating the menace of stubble burning in the state of Punjab. The foundation aims to start with pilot projects in the Moga, Sangrur, Ropar, Barnalaand and Patiala districts of Punjab by playing the role of a catalyst to foster demand and supply of new technologies at the farm level. The foundation will work with all stakeholders (farmers, agriculture department and equipment rental companies) to address this issue.

About EY Foundation India

Established by Indian member firm of EY in December 2005, EY Foundation (EYF) India is a not-for-profit organization, engaged in community-oriented initiatives. In addition to projects directly undertaken by EYF, significant contributions are also made to not for profit organizations, to not only help them expand their reach, but also support them in further improving their existing models of change.

About EY

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