Agriculture is the one of the greatest milestone in human history which led to the rise of civilization. It covers the largest sector of livelihood and plays an important role in development and growth of nation’s economy. It is the one of the largest contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to the 2nd Advance Estimates (Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Gov. of India) for 2015-16 total foodgrains production in the country has been higher than that in the last year. Total foodgrains production during 2015-16, estimated at 253.16 million tonnes, has been higher by 1.14 million tonnes over the production of 252.02 million tonnes during 2014-15. Although rising production capacity is trying to bridge the gap between ever increasing demand and meager supply of food grains, of the total food produced, roughly one third i.e. approximately 1.3 billion tonnes is lost or wasted. Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes).
In the face of ever increasing demand for food, farmers face many challenges like drought, shortage of water reservoir, etc. One of the major problems is pest infestation. 10-16% of global crop production is lost due to pests.
To meet up the increasing demand of food, farmers have acquiredmany modern technologies. One of them is the use of plastic mulch films. It is a highly specialized film to enhance the growth of various crops. Mulching is the process or practice of covering the soil/ground to make more favorable conditions for plant growth, development and efficient crop production. Mulch- technical term means ‘covering of soil’. Commonly used mulch films are LDPE, HDPE, PVC, etc.
When compared to other mulches, plastic mulches are completely impermeable to water; they therefore prevent direct evaporation of moisture from the soil and thus limit the water losses and soil erosion over the surface. They control weeds, reduce leaching of fertilizer, prevent root damage of the plants, conserve water and help in soil enrichment ensuring better quality of crop.
Mulching is mainly employed for moisture conservation in rainfed areas, reduction of irrigation frequency and water saving in irrigated areas, soil temperature moderation in greenhouse cultivation, soil solarisation for control of soil borne diseases, reduce the rain impact, prevent soil erosion and maintain soil structure, in places where high value crops can only to be cultivated, etc.
General instructions for selecting the correct plastic mulch are shown in the table given below:
|Rainy season||Perforated mulch|
|Orchard and Plantation||Thicker mulch|
|Soil Solarisation||Thin transparent film|
|Weed control through solarisation||Transparent film|
|Weed control in cropped land||Black film|
|Sandy soil||Black film|
|Saline water use||Black film|
|Summer cropped land||White film|
Source: Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management
Plastic mulches have been used commercially for the production of crops since the early 1960’s, and their usage is still increasing throughout the world. The use of plastic mulch in agriculture has increased in the last 10 years throughout the world. According to marketsandmarkets.com the agricultural films market is expected to grow at a decent pace during the coming decade driven by its increasing demand from the Asia-Pacific region. The increased demand for controlled agricultural activities drives the market for agricultural films. The agricultural films market is projected to register a CAGR of 6.5% between 2015 and 2020 to reach $11,743.7 Million, by 2020.
Every solution has advantages as well as some disadvantages. A thick layer of mulch can be effective in suppressing weeds and reducing maintenance, but it often causes additional problems. Deep mulch can lead to excess moisture (root rot, mould fungus); it can create a habitat for rodents, which damage the plant. Slugs and snails can multiply very quickly under a mulch layer. Ants or termites, which may cause damage to the crops, may find ideal conditions for living. When crop residues are used for mulching, in some cases there is an increased risk of sustaining pests and diseases.
C Tech Corporation can offer a solution to overcome this problem. Termirepel™– anti termite and anti insect polymer additive is an ideal solution to repel insects like termites, ants, grasshopper, beetles, bugs etc. Termirepel™ masterbatch can be incorporated in plastic mulch films.
Termirepel™ follows 6 pronged strategy which is extremely effective on insects. It is thermally stable and does not degrade on exposure to heat and sunlight. It does not kill or harm the insect but repels them. It does not volatilize and does not degrade in the soil. It is RoHS, RoHS2, REACH compliant and FIFRA exempted.