According to statistics of the Argentine Committee of Plastics for Agricultural Production, Argentina has 6,517 hectares of intensive crops in greenhouses. Vegetables occupy 84% of the cultivated area under cover (5,474 hectares) and floriculture the remaining 16% (1,043 hectares).
Of the countries grouped in the Ibero-American Committee for the Development and Application of Plastics in Agriculture (Cidapa), Spain is the country with the largest area of protected crops (including greenhouses, tunnels, and mini-tunnels) with 69,705 hectares, followed by Mexico with 40,862 hectares, and Brazil with 30,000 hectares. Argentina ranks fifth, behind Colombia, with 7,651 hectares of protected crops.
The technological level in Argentina's greenhouse production is low, but there is a growing incorporation of automation and better structures that allow having a better control of the internal environment.
Manuele Vitali, the Head of Research and Development at BASF in Italy, stated that there is a tendency to adopt plastic films of greater durability to reduce production and total plastic consumption.
The wide range of plastic additives for the industry allows improving the materials' technical quality with antioxidants, light and heat stabilizers, UV absorbers, among other possibilities.
As a result of urban development and also due to the increase in erosion and climate change, the challenge now is to intensify agricultural activity with a lower consumption of resources.
With the help of the greenhouses, production per hectare can increase considerably. Silo bags are another example that consolidated as an alternative for storing and preserving crops: in Argentina, around 45 million tons per year are stored in silo bags, a low cost system, that is easy to implement and has a high efficiency.