GREEN HOUSE TECHNOLOGY: A PANACEA TO FOOD INSECURITY

Is green house technology the panacea to food insecurity?

In recent weeks, we have said a lot on the hunger situation in developing countries, which is increasing exponentially yearly.

To know more about this, follow us @myfarmbase, and read through our previous tweet meets or visit our website www.myfarmbase.com.ng.

One of the causes of this hunger situation is the climate change, which has become so unstable as the wind.
The wind, in fact, is an element of climate change.

Developing countries are the most vulnerable to climate change and tend to be more dependent than advanced economies on the exploitation of natural resources for economic growth.

Many developing countries face severe economic, social and ecological threats from energy, food and water insecurity to climate change and extreme weather risks. They also face risks from premature deaths due to pollution, poor water quality and diseases associated with a changing climate.Climate change has become the worse nightmare of many, farmers especially.

The unpredictability of the climate change implies that our crops are no longer safe outside. We can’t tell the difference between a rainy season (winter) and a dry season (summer) with accuracy.

What would happen if all your years of hard labour and investments (in terms of time, money, etc) on your farm land was destroyed by just one night of great rainfall? What would you do?

This climate change has greatly affected the yield of agricultural produce negatively and has increased food insecurity in the world, especially in developing countries.

Farmers who should have great wealth barely have enough to sustain their family. Poverty has become a normal lifestyle for many.

In 2015, more than 8,000 farmers in India committed suicide, most because of their financial situation.

Here’s an illustration of what farmers go through yearly;

They plants tomatoes, and the crop is destroyed by pests. Months of extreme heat mean that they can’t plant anything else. When they finally plants another crop, it’s destroyed by drought. After backbreaking labor, they are still broke, or worse, in serious debt.

Assuming that current trends in population growth and the distribution of wealth continue 10-20 percent more people may be at risk of hunger by 2050 because of climate change.

Of these, 65 percent are expected to live in Africa says Parry et al (2009). Climate change will alter water availability, affect the spread of pests and diseases, and negatively affect crop production.

There is nothing new about climate change. For hundreds of millions of years the Earth’s temperature has been influenced by continental shifts, which have triggered volcanic eruptions among other things. Sometimes these shifts released large volumes of carbondioxide which heated up the Earth.

Over the last century the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil has increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. This happens because the coal or oil burning process combines carbon with oxygen in the air to make carbon dioxide.

Today, most developing countries contribute only minor shares to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to developed countries.

If developing countries follow conventional economic growth patterns, they will become sources of global green house gas emissions.

Consequently, this will drastically affect the climate, resulting in low food production and poverty, for not just farmers alone, but the whole world.

Seeing the need for a climate smart agriculture, Scientists designed an enclosed structure to regulate the temperature and humidity requirements of plants and crop.

The structure was called green house. The technology breaks away from the traditional open farming technique. It is a technology that delivers a unique farming technique that enables increased high quality production all year round.

Green House Technology helps to tackle many of the growth and development challenges, without compromising future growth, with their emphasis on low-carbon and high-technology.

In the face of pressing economic and environmental challenges, national and international efforts to promote green growth as a new source of growth have been intensifying in recent years.

Although it is viewed as capital intensive technology, locally replicated greenhouse technology has been proven to work too.

A greenhouse is a structure like dome or square shape that allows a farmer to grow crops, especially vegetables -tomato, sweet pepper, strawberry, broccoli, cauliflower cucumber, green beans, etc, in a controlled environment.

The key elements which the farmer may control include the greenhouse temperature, the amount of light, the system of irrigation (drip or rain gun, or sprinkle), fertilizer application, and the atmospheric humidity. In greenhouses, you can plant all-year-round under high intensive cultivation.

Green House Technology provides an optimal indoor growing environment when the outside environment can be warmer and drier, or colder than what the crop plants require, and in the case of our winters, can even survive.

Goal 13 of the SDGs which is CLIMATE ACTION says “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”.

Green House Technology offers a most cost effective way to combat green house gas emissions and hence, climate change through measures such as energy efficiency.

The present trend in greenhouse cultivation is to extend the crop production season in order to maximize use of the equipment and increase annual productivity and profitability.

Greenhouse farming is very profitable and has become very popular in countries like Netherland, Belgium, New Zealand, and Germany etc. For instance, Netherland have over 3,000 greenhouse companies that operate over 9,000 hectares of greenhouses and employ some 150,000 workers producing €7.2 billion worth of vegetables, fruits, plants and flowers.

Dizengoff Nigeria is one of the companies selling greenhouse technology in the country. Currently, it has 28×8 metres greenhouse size, which goes for N1.5 million and it comes with a set of kits.

The set of kits include fertiliser and agro chemicals, nursery set, Jacto sprayer, drip irrigation system, quality seeds and health and safety kits.

In Nigeria, some farmers who locally construct their greenhouses cover it with transparent or white polyethylene while wrapping the sides with nets, others use only nets (for dry season) while some farmers use only white polyethylene.

The locally constructed greenhouses might cost 50% to 60% less, depending on the size the farmer chooses.

Green building is a true catalyst for addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues.

Iyanuoluwa Olamide Aliu

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