Plastics in Agriculture a way forward National Committee on Plasticulture Applications in Horticulture (NCPAH), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Govt. of India, New Delhi.
olymers have become an integral part of our daily life getting into almost all the areas due to its versatility, diversity, ease of processing, abundance in availability & value for money. Many conventional materials have been gradually replaced by a variety of polymers meeting the requirement in total, whereby offering few more advantages such as light weight, cost, durability, processability, wide range of aesthetic appeal & moreover an edge over traditional materials.
India is an agrarian economy for very many years and will continue to be so for years to come, as Agriculture in our country continues to be the mainstay providing food, fiber besides the largest sector for employment generation both directly n& indirectly. Almost 75% of water is consumed by agriculture, 2/3 of our population depends indirectly or directly on it which contributes around 18% of our GDP. Various external factors including changing climatic conditions & global warming is of serious concern & will have impact on the overall economy. Horticulture is a vital tool for our growth & development, not merely a means of diversification but forms an integral part of food & nutritional security playing a vital ingredient of economic prosperity. Cost of cultivation is increasing day by day, making farmers to rethink towards newer proven technologies for their survival. Varied agro-climatic zones and available of natural resources along with relatively lower cost of manpower so far, offers plenty of scope for Indian farmers with huge untapped potential. Precise application of inputs (fertilizer, water etc.) coupled with Plasticulture applications have taken the agrarian economy to much higher level offering solutions such as enhancement of production & productivity with quality of produce. Thereby providing solutions to the Indian farming community to produce more per unit area with enhanced quality and quantity of produce. Plastics used in agriculture are termed as PLASTICULTURE in which various commodity polymers are used as the base material replacing various conventional materials such as
metal & wood. Polymeric material offers a wide range of advantages such as light weight, meeting the requirements, life expectancy, and value for money & ease of processing besides least environmental impact. Slow but steadily they have penetrated into the arena & now occupy a pivotal position. Overall availability across the country has ensured the demand is supply driven at the moment. Plasticulture o f f e r s cultivation under adverse conditions, extended cultivation is also made possible resulting early fruiting & high yielding varieties of various crops towards enhancing the farmersâ€™ income levels. This offers round the year cultivation possible with off-season & increased profitability. With per capita consumption of around 9.5 Kgs in India, compared to 3 times that of developed world, the scope is immense & yet to be fully exploited. The current penetration is picking up momentum. Around 200Kgs of polymers is required for covering an area of 1 Ha under micro irrigation. Polyolefin continue to dominate the scene with lion share. PP & engineering polymers are used only in high precision injection molded components. Extrusion dominate the process in case of Plasticulture components followed by injection moulding.
43 â€˘ December 2015 â€˘ Plastics News