Why We Need to Adopt Greenhouse Farming
Population growth and less availability of food material have become global concerns. The world population increases exponentially whereas food production has increased only arithmetically, meaning that the availability of food per capita has decreased.
This is more pronounced in the cases of oils, vegetables, fruits, and milk, whereas it is marginal, rather than minimum, in cereals. The increase in population has also resulted in the use of more urban areas for habitation, less land available for cultivation and, hence, more food requirements.
The resultant need is, therefore, to increase productivity and year-round agriculture. To maximize production and meet the global demand for food, vegetables, flowers, and horticultural crops, it is necessary to increase the useful production span of crops.
The sun is the source of energy for plants and animals. This energy is converted into food (i.e., carbohydrates) by plants through a process called photosynthesis. This process is accomplished at suitable atmospheric conditions.
These conditions are provided by nature in different seasons and artificially by a greenhouse. The primary objective of greenhouses is to produce agricultural products outside the cultivation season. They offer a suitable microclimate for plants and make possible growth and fruiting, where it is not possible in open fields.
This is why a greenhouse is also known as a “controlled environment greenhouse.” Through a controlled environment, greenhouse production is advanced and can be continued for a longer duration, and finally, production is increased.
The off-season production of flowers and vegetables is the unique feature of the controlled environment greenhouse. Hence, greenhouse technology has evolved to create a favorable environment or maintaining the climate, to cultivate the desirable crop the year round.
The use of “maintaining the climate” concept may be extended for crop drying, distillation, biogas plant heating, and space conditioning.
The purpose of greenhouses is widespread. During the last ten years, the amount of greenhouses has increased considerably to cover up to several hundred hectares at present. Most of the production is commercialized locally or exported.
However, the effective utilization of greenhouses has to deal with some specific climate problems like frost, during winter and overheating in summer days. These problems show the necessity of having a tool capable of predicting the thermal behavior of a greenhouse under specific exterior conditions.
Also, the greenhouse industry has to deal with some problems related to the poor design of a significant number of greenhouses. Such questions are mostly associated with, on the one hand, its incapacity to deal with the problem of frost, which in the cold, clear sky days of winter can destroy the whole work of season, and, on the other hand, the question of overheating in the summer days.
Investing in a greenhouse in Kenya is ideal in order to protect plants from extreme weather conditions. One can either build one or invest in a ready-made one.
People generally think greenhouse farming is too expensive. However, what actually seems expensive is the initial investment in buying the materials for the structure.
However, these expenses are easily offset by the high yields that a farmer makes from the investment. For example, in 10 months, a farmer will averagely harvest 10 tonnes of tomatoes from a 15×8 piece of land. At the current price, a kilogram goes for KES 50.
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