عنوان مقاله [English]
The ever increasing worldâs population in developing countries demands that food production should increase by 70%. However, the current situation with climate change, scarce water resources, and land use potentials make this demand more challenging. In other words, unpredictable weather conditions along with limited water reserves, and poor soil conditions requires that farmers be more cognizant about their production waste. In Iran, the rate agricultural waste is above normal. However, with sound agricultural waste management, 350 to 400 million dollars can be saved. Research indicates that in Asian countries, the rate of agricultural waste during post-harvest is extensively high and therefore more research and extension interventions is needed to reduce post-harvest waste. Some farmers have learnt to make better use of crop waste in their agricultural waste management strategies. For example, home sources of fuel, livestock ration, mushroom production, mulch production, and farm building are currently being practiced by innovative farmers. However, crop residue burning is still practiced among some farmers. Since agricultural waste management plays an effective role in reduced import and environmental pollution, understanding how farmers manage their production waste is imperative. Therefore, this study sought to investigate the strategies that can be used to improve agricultural wastes and crop residue among farmers in Ravansar Township in Kermanshah province.
The nature of this study is qualitative and grounded theory was used as a methodology. Ravansar township was used as a geographical region since it is considered as a unique agricultural location. Data was collected using deep interview, participant observations and focus group interview. Purposeful sampling was with snowball sampling till sampling saturation was reached. Data was analyzed using open, axial, and selective coding as suggested in grounded theory approach.
A contextual model for agricultural waste management was derived. This four step model starts with identifying causes of agricultural wastes and ends with ways to bury crop wastes. The first step is considered the most important and as we proceed to other steps, it becomes less important. Results further indicated that farmers are knowledgeable about the causes of crop waste. They have also developed strategies to reduce agricultural waste in general and crop waste in particular. However, some of the farmers admit that they have not utilized effective strategies to reduce crop waste. Moreover, since crop waste was limited during production, farmers had little to bury. In addition, farmers perceive burying of agricultural waste to be environmentally dangerous. Therefore, in our contextual model the burying of agricultural waste should be replaced with recycling of agricultural waste.
Results showed that unpredictable weather conditions, pests and diseases, financial burden, and wore out machinery are the major factors in creating agricultural wastes. Farmers used different strategies to cope with agricultural wastes. For example, land preparation, sowing higher quality seeds, controlling for pests and weeds, mechanized farming, and on-time harvest. Results further revealed that farmers used crop residue and wastes as a means of soil fertility, livestock feed, mushroom production, and no-tillage practices. Other waste management practices included dumping and burning of waste products. Although they dump or burn their waste material, they can use them as a raw material for compost production.