There are often logical reasons as to why farmers burn their crop residues. Often it is to manage risks, the fear of crop failure. They want to use a technology or practice that is tried and proven.
Another reason is the lack of awareness of alternatives, such as using the Happy Seeder, which allows farmers to direct sow their wheat crop into standing rice stubble straw.
Often the cost of the technology is prohibitive. There also needs to be incentives to adopt the new farming practices, increased profitability and decreased costs also acting as incentives.
As mechanised harvesting of crops increases in Bihar and West Bengal, it is likely that the incidence of stubble burning will increase through supporting farmers in the transition to mechanised Conservation Agriculture farming systems.