Miss Aaditi Chougule, Prof. S.G.Kulkarni, Mr. Aniket Bhute
DKTE Society’s Textile And Engineering Institute,
Agro industry is of paramount importance as humanity is served upon it, if this industry goes down it will turn out as an apocalypse. To cope up with the demands of ever growing population conventional agricultural techniques aren’t sufficient or capable. With growing population land acquisition for housing has begun to increase and it has resulted in reduction in agricultural land. Many techniques have been since applied to improve the productivity of land by use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, which indirectly impacted human health and since then many rules and regulations have been enforced by the government to reduce the harmful effects on human health. Textile industry on the other hand has helped agriculture by many means directly by bird nets, mulch mats etc. and indirectly by preventing soil erosion with help of geo textiles. Also the vertical farming techniques helped achieve better results with higher production in less area by utilizing vertical space instead of horizontal space. Soil-less farming techniques like hydroponics, aeroponics and aquaponics are quite successful but are rarely used due to their high costs, and are only limited to laboratory production and for space research.
PROBLEMS IN TRADITIONAL AGRICULTURE –
Traditional farming employs very less technology near to none. It is highly impacted by acts of nature like climate, weather and season. Farmers spend most of the money on fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides for protection of the crop from failure, but those things are deleterious. The water utilized for cultivation in soil is always higher than required for the plant because when watered the soil takes up maximum water and then it slowly goes on spreading to a wider area. As a result crops do not get enough water for its growth, also with the help of drip irrigation it can’tgo beyond certain limit. Almost 70% of the watered water is wasted due to inefficient irrigation. In a world with ever-growing population and pollution, it is imperative that resources like water, sunlight, soil, and money are used effectively.
USE OF TEXTILES IN AGRICULTURE –
Agro textile is use of textile material in the agricultural. Textile products play an important role in agriculture from different point of view like climatic condition and production. As per previous studies it is observed that with growing population demand for food has also increased which created a stress on agro industry. So agro-textile is helpful to reduce this stress by increase the yield, quality and quantity of agro-products, which is not possible only with the traditional agriculture.
There are many agro-textile products available in market. Sunscreen – it is used to protect crops and greenhouses from excess solar radiation which will harm the plants and directly the yield. It also used to control the amount of shade required. Bird protection net – it is used to protect seeds, crops and fruits against damage caused by birds and similar nets are used to prevent damage from hailstorms. Fruit covers – to keep the fruit from decaying by the action of insects and bugs. Ground cover – Weed in the field of plants creates problems to the growth of plant and also the quality of the fruit or grain so to avoid the growth of weeds mulch mats are used they cover the ground and only area open is for the plant. Windshield – it is used to protect fruit plantations from wind and also prevents damage to plants. Root ball net – it is important for safe and speedy growing of young plants. Insect meshes – these are helpful to keep out harmful insects from greenhouses. Turf protection net – it helps to minimize soil erosion loss and improve conservation. Monofil nets – these are used for windbreak barriers, it protects plants against the harmful effects of weather.Net for covering pallets – mesh nets are used for safe transportation of fruits and vegetables to the market, it helps to stop the boxes being turned upside down .
All the above textile products help to improve quantity and quality of the agricultural product so we can say that textiles can be backbone of the agriculture.There are two limits of arid and semi-arid areas shortage of water and shortage of soil organic matter. In 1970 United Nations FAO suggested research on the use of organic waste from the industrial world to improve soil productivity in developing countries. During cultivation this carbon from textile material is added by vegetation sequestration of soil as organic waste. It gives reason to start field research on the use of textiles as a soil enhancement . Textiles are the one of solution for water conservation. The wetting property of textiles is useful for water conservation. Like in nonwoven fabrics wetting of material depends on porosity of the fabric that is the wetting property of nonwoven fabric is influenced by their basic weight or pore structure. Also water absorbing sheet like material which consist of water absorbent polymer and prefabricated nonwoven fabrics. This type of water absorbing sheets are useful for water conservation.
SOME RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN AGRO-TEXTILE –
There are some other textile products are also used to increase quality, quantity and to reduce time and water wastage. Some of the products like-
- Development of durable and barrier work wear fabrics for agro-textile application.
- Development of sun light reflective agro-textile.
- Development of barrier packaging as agricultural produce.
- Drip lined agro-mats for automated irrigation which helps in reducing water wastage and water scarcity issues.
- Nonwoven fabric sheet for agricultural is allow water to pass from upper surface to inner surface because of hydrophilic treatment applied on surface.
Growing population, changes in life style and rapid urbanization are changing the land use pattern. Urban expansion leads to loss of agricultural land. This is affecting on food production. So it becomes important to conserve and protect the potential farmlands. Solution for this is vertical constructions which also include vertical farming. Solution for above problem is called as vertical farming. In this crops grow in controlled environment. In this growing plants are stacked in layers. Also for such small scale farming drip irrigation system can be production asset. In this system water and nutrients are allowed to drip slowly near the plant roots through a network of pipes. It helps in reduced water use, joint management of irrigation and fertilization, reduced pest problems, simplicity, low pumping needs, automation, adoption, production management.
There are some problems with conventional farming like high and inefficient use of water, large land requirements, high concentration of nutrient consumption and soil degradation. Conventional farming uses large quantities of irrigation fresh water and fertilizers, conventional farming may present health concerns for people and animals, it may farm the surrounding environment, large scale conventional farming takes away from small scale farmers, also farmers cannot produce crop that are off season. For some of these problems organic farming is solution and considering all problems of conventional farming modern soil-less farming techniques are alternatives for them. Organic farming promotes biodiversity, it improves soil health, and only natural methods are used in organic farming.
Modern crop technologies of soilless farming is in practice in other countries. Technologies like hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaponics are some of the soilless farming technologies. In some metropolitan areas soil is not available or scarcity of fertile land, so considering this soilless culture is developed. In hydroponic system plants grown in solution culture have their roots suspended directly in a nutrient solution. Hydroponics is the fastest growing sector of agriculture, and it could very well dominate food production in future. This system gives advantages like high productivity as compared to conventional one, also it gives superior quality, and rapid plant growth, it requires 90% less water than conventional farming. With these advantages this system also has some disadvantages like high cost of electricity improvements, use of large amount of plastic materials which are not recyclable, plants are very sensitive to temperature variation. But in India hydroponic system is at theoretical level.
Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air medium without use of soil. Its basic principle is to grow plants in a closed or semi-closed environment by spraying the plant’s roots with nutrient water solution. Benefits of using aeroponics system more efficient use of water. Almost 99% less water is consumed than conventional farming. No pesticides and soil fertilizers are used so, fruit and vegetables obtained are pure and doesn’t need to be washed before use. Delivers nutrients directly to the plant roots, which results in faster growth of crops. Fruits and vegetables obtained from an aeroponics system are healthy, nutritious, pure, rich, fresh and tasteful. Uniform growth among all crops. This system is mainly established for optimal and economical irrigation control.
The domestic agro textile market is expected to grow at the rate of 8% Combined Annual Growth Rate (CAGR). Food security is the major problem in India and worldwide major problem is climate change, studies indicate probability of 10-40% less crop production in the country due to anticipated rise in temperature by 2050-60. This is the underlying driving force behind the agro-tech sector, to improve and give better yield. Agro-textile share only 1.5 percent of total technical textile market in India.
- Organic farming technique is best compared to conventional farming.
- As land acquisition for shelter is increasing vertical farming must be developed in order to cope up with demands of social life.
- Hydroponics and aeroponics improve the quality and quantity of agricultural products, but they are too costly to be commercially successful.
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