While discussing the demand of plastic in the previous blog, we learnt how plastic is gaining notable importance in various spheres. As agriculture has not been kept away from it too, the mid-20th century gave rise to what is known as ‘plasticulture’: use of plastic in agriculture and horticulture. On being trained through support programs or autodidactically, farmers are able to reap monetary benefits and increased productivity through plastic. Some of the major applications of plastics include:
- Plastic Mulching – Soil around the plant is covered with a plastic film to create an ideal environment by preventing loss of moisture, further reducing soil erosion. Further, it helps halt weed growth and survival of harmful pests.
- Plastic Tunnel – Along with preventing weather-beaten plants, these structures help trap carbon dioxide to enhance the yield through photosynthesis.
- Ponds Liner – Being impermeable, a plastic film lining is used for retention of stored water – for irrigation purposes or livestock – in canals, ponds, and reservoirs.
- Also, plastic equipment is required for irrigation practices like the drip and sprinkle system. Furthermore, plastic crop covers for protection and plastic vermi-beds are used too. In nurseries, usage of plastic bags, trays, pots, and sprayers is quite common.
All in all, these innovative applications have been successful in improving yield, increasing water retention, soil conservation, reducing germicides and pesticides, rising fertiliser savings, preventing weed growth, and protecting against adverse climatic conditions. This eventually leads to increased efficiency and reduced post-harvest losses, thus contributing to the GDP and promising to bring about a successful transformation in Indian agriculture.