Introduction- Plasticulture refers to use of plastics in agriculture and horticulture. Plasticulture has a number of applications in modern agriculture and promises to transform Indian agriculture and bring in the “Second Green Revolution”. Both the quality and the quantity of the crops and other farm products can be optimized using various techniques. Plastics which are most widely used in agriculture, water management and related applications are PE, (LLDPE, LDPE and HDPE), PP and PVC. The application of Plasticulture can substantially decrease the costs and therefore can lead to higher productivity with a better quality of crops. The table below shows the water saving, water use efficiency and fertilizer use efficiency by various plasticulture applications. Each application can drastically save water by about 30 to 100%.
Plasticulture applications are one of the most useful indirect economy & agriculture inputs with huge unrealized potential such as:
Water Management – Lining of canals, ponds & reservoirs with plastics film/Drip & sprinkler irrigation system/Water conveyance using PVC & HDPE pipes & Sub-surface drainage
Nursery Management- Nursery bags, Pots, Pro-trays, Root trainers, Coco peats, Hanging baskets, Plastic trays, etc.
Surface cover cultivation – Soil Solarisation /Plastics Mulching.
Controlled Environment Agriculture- Greenhouses/Shade net houses/Plastic tunnels/Plant protection nets.
Innovative Packaging Solutions- Plastic crates, bins, boxes, leno bags, unit packaging nets etc/CAP covers, controlled atmospheric packaging (CAP) & modified atmospheric packaging (MAP)
Need of Plasticulture-
Plasticulture viz: the use of plastics in agriculture, horticulture, water management and related areas provides an answer to the problem. The usages of plastics not only maximize the output of farms but also optimize the input factors thereby leading to high productivity of crops along with efficiencies in time and cost involved. It is estimated through appropriate adoption of microirrigation technologies can result in water saving up to around 50-70-%. Consumption of fertiliser is also reduced through fertigation. The resulting improvement in net farm incomes is substantial. The table below provides benefits of plasticulture applications. The growing use of plastics in different segments of economy has been very useful. The use of plastics esp. in agriculture has helped farmers increase crop production, improve food quality as also in more efficient usage of water resources.
Mr. Rohit Kumar Singh, Assistant Professor, School of Agriculture Sciences, Career Point University, Kota