Global vegetable production currently depends on plastics: approximately 15 million hectares of agricultural land are covered under black horticultural plastics.
While alternatives to the plastic cover have been under development for several years, it is only now that a new biodegradable cover, suitable for both professional and subsistence farms, is entering the market.
The use of plastic covers in vegetable production is not only ecologically unsustainable; removing them from a field after the growing season is over is a laborious and expensive undertaking. Based on a method jointly developed by MTT Agrifood Research Finland and Stora Enso, a new paper-based biodegradable cover offers the market a real alternative to plastic covers.
Reflecting Finland’s bio-economic goals, the development of this cover and its introduction into practical farming is one of the first concrete steps towards a society based on the bio-economy. This project is underpinned by research and cross-enterprise collaboration dating back several years in which MTT has been engaged.
“We develop bio-economic solutions in collaboration with various enterprises. The innovations we develop will not be left collecting dust in cupboards. Our aim is that development and productisation will be carried out in a market-driven fashion from the very beginning. Both Stora Enso and MTT play key roles in in the development of biodegradable cover material dating back several years,” says Anu Harkki, MTT’s Research Director.