- Fruits and vegetables do not get in contact with the soil and damage to the roots is greatly reduced.
- The farmers use black plastic mulching which helps conserve water, reduce weeds and increase harvest.
- The technology also reduces the frequent tending to the crops and land by farmers, particularly weeding.
- The technology was developed to replace the traditional mulching that uses grass, plant twigs and leaves.
The sun is scotching when the Seeds of Gold team arrives at Lamarao Farm, about 40 kilometres from Brasilia, the federal capital of Brazil and seat of the government.
The farm is a model of plastic mulching growing technology. Farmers from all over the world flock the place almost daily.
The 10-acre farm is owned by a community group founded about five years ago. It specialises in vegetable and fruit growing.
The agribusiness has transformed the lives of the 10 members of the group and their families. It is some minutes past noon when when arrive at Lamarao Farm.
The Seeds of Gold team is accompanied by an agriculture officer who has been working with the farmers since the business began.
He gives them advice on how to get improved yields and how to ward off pests and diseases. Farm president Joimas de Sousa is around tending to the crops.
The farmers use black plastic mulching, “which helps us conserve water, reduce weeds and increase our harvest”, he says.
“We are the first farm to adopt to this kind of technology in the greater Brasilia area and have witnessed good results as far as the yields are concerned,” De Sousa told us.
The farmers grow eggplant, persimmon fruit, egg tomato, bell pepper and other fruits and vegetables in large quantities.
“We began the business with greenhouse farming, but that lasted only a year. The group changed to plastic mulching when we suffered huge losses due to diseases, bad weather and pests," the farm president said.
COMMONLY USED TECHNOLOGY
The greenhouses were also getting destroyed by hailstones, which are common in the province.
According to De Sousa, the use of black plastic mulching technology reduced instances of pests and diseases and increased the harvests.
He said the mulching helps to keep away weeds and conserve water in the soil.
The farmers get water from a dam near the city, which was constructed by the government specifically to help residents irrigate their lands.
The water is supplied to different farms using pipes. At the farm run by De Sousa and the rest, drip irrigation is used under the plastic bag mulch.
The vegetables are watered early in the morning and late in the evening daily. Before planting, the farm is tractor-ploughed and all weeds removed.