Due to the unavailability of traditional film-forming resins, starch is widely used as a raw material for biodegradable mulch films. The heavy consumption of these starch-based mulch films is predicted to contribute considerably to the growth of the biodegradable mulch film sector, as starch is cost-effective and available in significant amounts as compared to other raw materials, such as polylactic acid and polyhydroxyalkanoate.
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Besides, benefits including maintenance of soil structure, weed control, and protection of crops from soil contamination, are highly acknowledged by end users. Moreover, farmers are rapidly shifting their focus toward the adoption of starch-based films, because the usage of inorganic mulch films leads to rising environmental concerns. Mulching done by inorganic materials affects human health and the environment, as these are produced from petroleum-based plastics, specially polyethylene, which causes waste disposal issues. Hence, the growing sales of starch-based mulch films are expected to accelerate the sector progress.
According to the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the world’s population is expected to grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050. This rapid increase in the population is predicted to drive the demand for crops across the world. Due to the surging population growth rate, coupled with industrialization and urbanization, the land for agricultural purposes is reducing as well.
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The farmers are being compelled to produce more crops from the same agricultural landholding. This can be done through the adoption of new techniques for farming, one of which is mulching. During this practice, the topsoil is covered with a film to provide an ideal environment for crop production. The physical barrier that is created decreases the evaporation rate of soil water and also aids in weed control, prevents crops from the effects of soil contamination, and maintains oil structure.
This post was originally published on Food and Beverage Herald