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Greenhouse and Shadehouse Farming for poverty Reduction
Conflicts and Excessive Poverty
The population of the planet earth is continuously increasing day by day and we are now headed to a situation where the resources of the earth will have to be managed more intelligently if we have to avoid conflicts and excessive poverty. One way to control poverty is to practice fertility control and population control. Unfortunately, the politician who can educate the populace on the issue of fertility control and population control can not dare talk about it unless they want to commit political suicide - if governments can provide sufficient and relevance basic education to the people then we would not be having mothers and fathers who chooses to have babies each year with no means to support them other than the welfare from the struggeling tax payers. That being the case the other option for the people now is to practice intensive farming if they have to avoid excessive poverty. To reduce poverty then people have to practice greenhouse and shadehouse farming.
A greenhouse is an enclosure made of glass or plastic. Polyethylene is preferred to glass because polyhouse is significantly less expensive to install than a glasshouse. The polythene will control the ultraviolet rays that are harmful for the plants. The material should be such that they do not cast shadow on the crops. The sun provides solar radiation through the plastic material and this radiation will warm up the crops, soil and air inside the greenhouse. The heat is prevented from escaping from the enclosure by the plastic roof and walls. A shadehouse on the other hand is a cheaper enclosure made of shade net or shade cloth which is used to protect crops from excessive heat, light or dryness.
Greenhouse and Shadehouse Farming
A sustainable greenhouse and shadehouse farming for poverty reduction is the one where water is considered to be a scarce resource and used sparingly. For a crop to grow, there are certain factors that must be present, and they are many but the main ones are:
2. Optimum temperatures
3. Optimum humidity
4. Light energy/sunshine
Water Is More Important
To many people, water seems to be the most important. You may have noticed that during the dry weather people will try to irrigate their flower gardens but no matter how much water they use, the flowers do not look as good as during the rainy season. This is usually because the temperatures are very high and the humidity is very low.
Humidity and Temperature
Humidity is a measure of the water vapor in the air. In a greenhouse it is very difficult to control humidity. But the thing is, when the humidity is low the air is dry and therefore the crops will transpire and lose a lot of water. When the leaves of your crop transpire water into the air the leaves are cooled and as long as there is enough water and optimum temperatures then that is good for the crops. When the air is having high humidity and is saturated with water, there can be no transpiration and that is not good for the crops. There has to be an optimum humidity for the health growth of crops. But naturally you will notice that during the rainy season the temperature are moderate, the humidity is moderate and there is enough water in the soil and these are the ideal conditions for a health growth of crops. Naturally, the opposite is also true that when the humidity is low the temperatures are very high and no matter how much water you add to the crops the crops will not open the stomata for transpiration because the temperatures are high thus hindering the growth of crops. But there is exception to this in those countries where there is winter. During winter, the temperatures are low, the air is dry and relative humidity is also very low.
Photosynthesis is the process of converting light energy into chemical energy in crops and storing it in the bonds of sugar. Crops need only light energy, carbon dioxide and water to make sugar. The process of photosynthesis takes place using chlorophyll which is the green pigment involved in photosynthesis. Crops will look green because chlorophyll will absorb all red and blue light, making these colors unavailable to be seen by our eyes. Photosynthesis is therefore the food for crops to grow.
Naturally Ventilated Greenhouse
There are several crops that can be grown in naturally ventilated greenhouse. By using greenhouse method to grow crops, a crop can be grown repeatedly throughout the year just by controlling carbon dioxide emission which is used by plants for photosynthesis. Different crops have different water requirements and just by controlling the temperature and humidity and by using drip irrigation, we can grow crops by using limited amounts of water. The manpower required in a greenhouse is also less when compared to open field cultivation because there is very little weeding to be done and very few pests are to be found in greenhouse farming.
Use of greenhouse and shadehouse will definitely improve the income of the poor rural household mostly found in the developing countries. Israel is a country with scarcity of water and land but one need to look how far they have done in greenhouse and shadehouse farming to realize that the way out of poverty for the next century of diminishing resources has to be greenhouse farming.
A Good Greenhouse at $2000
Constructing up a greenhouse in US is a high technology that can cost $20,000 to $100,000 (one square feet of Multiwall Polyethylene in US will cost $1.20). This is a lot of money when one is talking about reduction of poverty. But comparing the standard of living in US to that of the developing countries is like comparing day and night. And there is always a solution to the high cost of greenhouse. By sourcing greenhouse and shadehouse materials from China and India, one can be able to put up a good greenhouse at $2000 in developing countries where the climate is hot and dry. This includes enough plastic sheets for 50 feet x 50 feet greenhouse enclosure, 500 liter water tank, irrigation drip lines, seeds and chemicals. The 50 feet x 50 feet greenhouse enclosure can grow 1,200 plants of tomatoes.
Development Aid towards Reduction of Poverty
The plastic sheets can last for three to four years and one can produce a crop in a greenhouse three times a year. With these kinds of calculations and considering the kind of development aid from Japan, European Union and US towards reduction of poverty, then it is possible to use greenhouse and shadehouse farming to reduce poverty but only if mankind is willing.
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