Plastic film technology

Plastic film technology, sometimes called plastic mulching, is an important breakthrough that can transform traditional agriculture into modern agriculture by helping to circumvent many of the limitations of temperature and moisture. Plastic film is used to cover the surface of the soil in order to increase the temperature, to retain moisture, and to promote the germination of seeds.

Agricultural production by traditional methods is constrained by extremes in temperature and by extremes in the availability of water; freezing temperatures as well as droughts and waterlogging have long daunted farmers. When plastic film is used on the soil, the solar energy absorbed by the soil during the day is retained at night since the plastic film prevents water from evaporating. Higher night time temperatures and higher levels of moisture in the ground promote active micro-organisms, which diminish the need for fertilizer and improve the physical properties of the soil.

WOCAT database reference: QT NEP 37

Location: ICIMOD Knowledge Park at Godavari, Lalitpur District, Nepal.

Technology area: Demonstration plot

Conservation measure(s): Agronomic

Land Use: Cropland

Stage of intervention: Mitigation

Origin: Experiment and research

Climate: Subhumid/temperate

Related approach: Not described

Compiled by: Samden Sherpa, ICIMOD

Date: June 2011, updated March 2013

ICIMOD Knowledge Park at Godavari, Lalitpur District, Nepal