Plasticulture under Plastindia Umbrella
To catch up the next green revolution in the country
Corporate India is realizing the potential of agriculture sector. If the country’s GDP has to grow at 8%, the agri sector has to grow by 4%. Hence, the next green revolution in the country is probably the stuff of megabucks. The Indian plastics industry must participate in the country’s untapped potential by bringing in technology, investment and helping the farmers to increase yield per hectare and reduce the current loss of 25% to 40% of food products due to lack of supply chain.
India ranks in the top five nations globally in terms of
• Production of a variety of food grains & cereals, fresh vegetables & fruits
• Area under the cultivations for a variety of crops
Unfortunately, we have lower productivity and highest levels of wastage in the world mainly due to lack of application of precision farming techniques and proper post-harvest management practices. There is a huge monetary loss of Rs. 25,000 crore annually.
The Govt. of India is planning to bring 17 million hectares under drip and sprinkler irrigation .
Drip : 12 million hectares
Sprinkler : 5 million hectares
Total : 17 Million hectares
It is further estimated that the ultimate potential for drip and sprinkler irrigation in the country for identified potential crops is 69 million hectares.
The present drip and sprinkler area in the country is majorly distributed in few states :
Drip Irrigation : 90% of total area covered in the country is only in four states – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu
Sprinkler Irrigation : 70% of total area covered in the country is only in 8 states – Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, West Bengal, Mahrashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat
The ambitious GOI plan, therefore, requires extensive market development in all states and UnionTerritories in the country as well as to have adequate financial assistance and timely fund allocation including liberal loan from financial institutions. Further, there is an immediate need for extensive crop diversification in order to increase remuneration to the farming community for adoption of these new advanced and essential technologies.
To realize this untapped potential and for supporting the Indian plastics processors, Plastindia Foundation needs to interact with the GOI as well as all the State Governments, financial institutions, agriculture research centers as well as co-operatives of farmers.
Challenges and Opportunities :
In a couple of decades, we have to prepare ourselves to feed the world’s largest population in the wake of following challenges :
- Water scarcity
- Rapid urbanization; limited availability of farm land / labour
- Dropping agriculture output, changing crop preferences, etc.
The future, however, is very promising :
- Healthy GDP growth rate; a rising class of young and aspiring millions of Indian with a Purchase Power Parity amongst top 3 economies of the future
- Growing awareness for fresh, healthy food
- Revamping of supply chain, setting up of retail super markets, which offer direct linkages between farm and consumer
Gearing up for the Future :
Time has come for a second green revolution, which has to address the following issues :
Increase in productivity :
- How can we dream to be amongst top 5 nations in terms of productivity, ie. Yield/ha for majority of crops ?
Value addition to the farmer
- How can we add value to the produce as well as insulate the perishable commodities for guaranteed returns, so that the farmer feel insured and are ready to invest in modern agricultural practices ?
Plastic products can be a vital tool in future farming techniques to address above challenges.
Plastics are the most versatile material, which can be employed at various stages for accelerating the productivity in the areas of :
- Water conservation
- Pre-harvest protection / agriculture practices
They can play an equally important role of protecting the harvested produce through tailor-made packages.
The most important indirect agricultural input …… Poised to transform Indian agriculture for an evergreen revolution.
- Water saving upto 60–70%
- Increase in agricultural / horticultural productivity – 50-60%
- Improvement in quality of produce
- Fertilizer saving upto 40%
- Appreciable reduction in post-harvest losses
- Noteworthy value addition
- Cold desert / wasteland can be made productive
Status / Role of Plastics in Agriculture :
- Water conservation
- Pre-harvest protection
- Post-harvest management
- Emerging technologies
Water : A TurbulentFuture :
As per a report from the World Bank, India faces a turbulent water future. The current water development and management is not sustainable : unless dramatic changes are made and made soon in the way in which Government manages water, India will have neither cash to maintain and build new infrastructure, nor the water required for the economy and for the people.
Plastics in Water Conservation :
- Harvesting / storage
- Pipes, liners, tanks for rainwater harvesting and storage
- Piping systems and canal liners to prevent losses in distribution, which are as high as 70% in conventional unlined canals or channels
- Sprinklers & drip irrigation system for optimum management of the fast depleting precious resource
Pre-harvest Protection :
- Low tunnels / protection covers
- Greenhouse and large tunnels for high-tech cultivation
- Shrouding films and nets for pre-harvest protection
Post-harvest Management :
- Crates / kiltas for collection, handling and storage
- Unit packaging of fruits and vegetables
- Cap covers
- Raschel / leno bags
- Active packaging films and support to emerging applications such as biotech, tissue culture, organic farming, post-harvest marketing, shelf-life improvement with active packaging
Agriculture needs continuous infusion of innovation and technology in ensuring global food security, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability. Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 released in 2015 indicates that out of 24.39 crore households in the country, 17.91 crore lived in the villages and among them 10.69 crore were considered as deprived households. As per SECC, 31.26 percent of total rural households are still broadly identified as poor where the main earner has an insecure and uncertain source of income. Agriculture is critical for those who live below the poverty line.