Agrotextiles and Its Future in Bangladesh

Technical textile is one of the most potential types of textile product. It is known as the fastest growing sector in textile industry. This feature added huge amount value all the section in the textile sector. It’s a demandable sector because all kinds of protective and innovative textile products which they can meet the specific demands and requirements. There are various types of uses of technical textile. Agrotextiles or Agro-tech is one of the most important are of prospects.

Agrotextiles:

The agrotextile may be defined as the uses of woven, non-woven and knitted fabrics in agriculture and horticultural sector by covering protection shading, structural dimension, insect protection and most importantly extension of the plant growing season.  It helps to improve the quality and quantity of a product. It has excellent environmental resistance, mechanical properties, easy process ability and eco friendly characteristics.

agrotextiles in bangladesh
Fig: Agrotextiles in Bangladesh

Objectives of agrotextiles:

  1. To improve product quality
  2. To improve product quantity
  3. To Extension of the plant growing season
  4. Large production in small space
  5. To making easy way of harvesting system
  6. To increase the cleanliness of crops and uniformity of color.

Essential properties required for agrotextiles:

  1. Strength
  2. Elongation
  3. Stiffness
  4. Bio-degradation
  5. Resistance to sunlight
  6. Resistence to toxic environment
  7. Resistance to microorganism
  8. High water retention potential
  9. Resistance to solar radiation and ultra violet  light
  10. Ability to create a microclimate between the ground and the textiles.

Fibre used in agrotextiles:

Agro textiles are basically  produced from two categories of textile fibers. They are-

1. Natural fibers:

  • Nowadays the uses of natural fibres for producing new agro textile is a concern to Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO) because of sustainable using and effectiveness all over the world.
  • Wool, flax, hemp, coconut, sisal, Jute are used as natural fiber.
  • Coconut fiber has lower degradation rate compare to other which makes it more resistant and durable in high humidity environmental condition.
  • Jute is mainly used for packing or bagging purposes.
  • Wool fiber is used for making mulch mats for crop protection. It is the only natural fiber from animal origin.

2. Synthetic fibers:

  • As natural fiber is not available so that synthetic fiber is used more than natural fibres in agro textile production.
  • Cheap price and available.
  • Synthetic fibres are mechanically so strong, modulus and long lasting.
  • Most commonly used synthetic fibers are: Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Nylon, Polyester.
  • Polyolefin’s fibre are mostly used in agrotextiles.

Different form of fabric used in Agrotextile:

  • Nets
  • Sheets
  • Woven
  • Nonwoven
  • Knitted
  • Novel and coated fabric

Classification of Agrotextiles:

  1. Agro-textile for crop production
  2. Agro-textile for horticulture
  3. Agro textile for animal husbandry

Agrotextiles for crop production:

Agro textile plays a vital role in crop production. Some of the most important application of agro textiles is given bellow:

a) Sunscreen shade net:
It’s a very interesting innovation of agro textiles. Sunscreen shade nets are used to protect field and greenhouses from the solar radiation. It helps to get a healthy plant and good harvest. It uses to control sunshine. Basically in our country it use in the summer season to control temperature and cultivate winter seasonal crops or vegetables.

Sunscreen shade net
Fig: Sunscreen shade net

b) Birds protection net:
Anti-birds nets are a physical and visual barriers. Sometime Birds are causes to damages of plants. To control the birds attack to the crops field or plant a net is used for protection purposes. It’s mainly used in fruits field so that birds can’t enter the field easily to damage plants. Obviously there is a proper way of air and temperature circulation system. These nets are basically made of knitted monofilament.

Birds protection net
Fig: Birds protection net

c) Plant net:
The fruits which grow very close to the ground these are protected by plant nets. It can be used as protection screen. The structure that cover the planting sites with the help of poles or structures.

d) Mulch mats or ground cover:
Mulch mats or ground cover is a material which is used for covering the plant grounds. Usually it covers the base of a plant ground. It is used to prevent the growth of unwanted types of others plant that may be compete with the crops. It also used to maintain the soil hydration, stabilized soil and help the separation of soil. Synthetic mulch mats are made with fibres such as LDPE, HDPE, PP and PET these are considered as agro ecological alternatives for controlling weed plants and minimize the chemical use. It may be recyclable. Mulch mats is the agriculture that actually made of most natural fibre. Just because of that this mat will provides nutrients to the soil during their decomposition process.

e) Root protection:
To controlling the growth of root of plants agrotextile is used includes non-woven materials and nets are used to avoid root damages. Nets are warmly preferable to use in this root protection rather than plastic because net can easily allow the roots to penetrate it and continue growing.

f) Crop covers, Row covers, Floating row covers:
It has a basic difference with mulch mats. Mulch mats are used to covering the ground but these agrotextiles cover the plant. It may be applied directly over the plant or may be help of structure. This is not a available application of agrotextile but it has a benefit to reuse the same agrotextile by recycling. The uses of this technology is depends on weather of season. The lighter cover is used during the warmer month to protect the insect on the other hand the heavier one is used to protect the wind, hail and frost.

g) Capillary mats:
Capillary mats are one kind of absorbent type of nonwoven mat. That has been used in greenhouse to ensure the uniform water distribution to the growing plants. This is an option for the healthy growth of flowers and vegetables in greenhouse. Using rayon, PP, Recycled acrylic and blends of wool fibers is used to produce this types of agrotextiles.

Capillary mats
Fig: Capillary mats

h) Insect meshes:
Without the using of harmful insecticides to protect the plant and fruits the insect meshes are used. Mainly woven and knitted polyethylene monofilament meshes are used to kill the harmful insect from tunnel or greenhouses.

Insect meshes
Fig: Insect meshes

i) Wind control:
Wind controlled shield is used to protect the fruits or plants from the heavy wind and prevent damage. Sometimes it helps to control cold temperature due to heavy wind.

j) Packing or bagging:
Net bag can be used for packing of many agricultural end product. It could be the packing of Vegetable, Crops, Tubler packing nets for fruits. Net structures are highly appreciated for their low weight and cheap price. On the other hand bio degradable packing materials are highly priced.

k) Vertical farming:
Everything is going modern day by day. Vertical farming is one of the modern agricultural technologies in this era. Vertical farming is very interesting types of farming where crops are grown inside the skyscraper without using soil. Basically this types of farming used in indoor farming sector. Indoor farming sector would be the next blast of modern technology.

vertical farming
Fig: Vertical farming

Agrotextiles in Bangladesh:

As we know that agriculture is the backbone of our nation. It’s a great opportunity to use agrotextile in the agricultural sector of Bangladesh. Nowadays agrotextiles is known as the backbone of agriculture. So, can you imagine how much valuable it is?

  • It is sorrow to say that in Bangladesh farmers use alternative way to meet the purpose of agro-textiles which is actually not genuine.
  • For insect protection they use local net meshes which is actually not a agro textile. They use locally made net to protect insect or others.
  • In Bangladesh farmers really don’t know what actually mulch mats is. Sometimes they use others materials like polyethylene sheets, Jute bag, Dry leaves etc.
  • Using of mosquito nets are very popular in our country. Farmers are using this to protect their crops field from the domestic animals.
  • Polyethylene sheets is used  to protect the crops or plant from rain.
  • During summer polyethylene sheets is used in cultivating different types of non seasonal vegetable like tomato, Eggplant etc.
  • In Bangladesh dairy farm in one of the most popular sector. For animal they use husbandry jute sacks, mosquito nets, animal mats etc. Jute sacks are mainly used in the season of winter to protect cow or domestic animals from cold.
  • Bangladesh is a land of river. Many people are connecting with fishing mainly who they are living in the coastal areas. They are using different types of nets for fishing and collecting eggs in hatcheries.
  • Thin markin fabrics are used for collecting eggs in fish hatcheries.
  • In Bangladesh Panama industries (Pvt.), Meghna fabric industries, Rupsha fishing they are producing nets for fishing for local fishers and they also export fishing nets.
  • Different packing or bagging materials are used in our country. Packing or bagging is the new criteria of marketing policy for attraction of customers.
  • In our country pooly bags,jute bags,paper bags are mostly used materials for packing. Nowadays non woven and jute bags are getting popular due to environmental issue.
  • Bangladesh exports a large scale of betel leaf. Betel leaf field need more shady place. In Bangladesh this shade is given by coconut leaves, Dried leaves etc.

*Bang jin Ltd. Is one of the leading agro textile producer in our country. They produce Jute felt, Jute Tree mat, Jute Mulch Mat. These agrotextiles products are not popular in Bangladesh. Most of these are produced for Export purpose.

*Among agro-textiles, in Bangladesh only the fishing nets are produced in different number. As we have a large number of fishing area they meet the local excellence. The fact is we are exporting fishing nets too. But others sector of agrotextiles still now in an experimental step.

*Unfortunately there is no specific consumption rate  or market size is found in Bangladesh. Though a large number of agrotextile is used all over the world. But In Bangladesh we use a limited numbers of agro textile products.

Why agrotextiles is important for Bangladesh:

  • Bangladesh is a densely populated country. Day by day populations are growing but not land.
  • We have a limited land source to cultivate crops.
  • To meet the requirements level of foods it is very important to use agrotextiles in our agricultural sector.
  • Nowadays Bangladesh facing a very dangerous environmental challenges. To overcome that we should have to know the uses of agrotextiles and improve the quantity along with quality food products.
  • Bangladesh has world class textile industries and it’s high time to product diversity. Agrotextile would be the blessings for this sector.
  • Most importantly Bangladesh needs to produce more food to feed the more people, For that there is no other way without using agrotextiles.

Conclusion:

Technology always is a blessing. If we make sure the right uses of technology it could be the greatest reason of valuable changes in this world. Agrotextiles has bring us a great opportunity to develop our country by agriculture. If our government took perfect step to rearranged the system of our agriculture it could be the great movement for our economy. As we already know that Bangladesh has world class textile industries and also we are a land of agriculture. So, we should have to focus on this sector of textile. If we produce technical textiles like agrotextiles it would be the great opportunity for us in multiple ways.

At last I would like to say, as agriculture is the backbone of Bangladesh and we have the world class textiles industries we should have to pay more attention on this sector. If we can make it possible  I hope Bangladesh will lead this sector of technical textile all over the world.

References:

  1. Textile at Agriculture Application By Hiran, Shyam, Swati & Neha
  2. Agro Textiles –A review By Dr. Ruma, K.Gowri & R. Senthil
  3. Significance of Agro-Textiles and Future prospects in Bangladesh By Md. Jonayet, Shamima, Md. Abdullah
  4. Development of Technical Textile In Bangladesh By Dr. Md. Mahbubul Haque(DIU)

Author of this Article:
Asif Hasan Mim
Daffodil International University
Department of Textile Engineering
E-mail: asifhasanmim16@gmail.com

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