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Food is essential to human beings thus making production fundamental to our existence. The populations of people are bursting at the seams, the excessive growth of populations leads subsequently to environmental pollution and resource shortages are major reasons leading to the scarcity of food.
Rice is especially vital for the nutrition of much of the population in Nigeria; it is enjoyed in different communities and across different ethnic groups.
FEASIBILITY ANALYSIS FOR RICE PRODUCTION IN NIGERIA
Three Types of Plant Factory and their Characteristics
The concept of a plant factory has not been defined. A plant factory is a new facility to grow plants under a controlled environment and is able to get high yield and high-quality productions year-round. The control of conditions required for optimal plant growth, including the environmental factors of temperature, light, carbon dioxide concentration, and nutrient source, a plant factory is a food production technology so efficient that it saves time and labor and also shields the crops inside the facility from adverse weather conditions. Plant factories are mainly categorized into three types based on their characteristics:
- Plant factories with sunlight
- Plant factories with sunlight and supplemental light
- Plant factories with fully artificial light.
FEASIBILITY REPORT FOR FASHION READY MADE CLOTHE FACTORY IN NIGERIA
To grow healthy and yield a bountiful harvest in a plant factory, sufficient light intensity, and the appropriate temperature is needed. Without sufficient light and appropriate temperature, rice plants undergo elongation in their growth period and also have a low fertility rate, the best temperature is at 250C at 800-1000 μmol m-2 s-1.
The optimal temperature for growth also varies and this depends on the stage of growth the plant has attained thus leaving the optimal temperature for the growth of rice at approximately 300C. As it has been considered that the optimal temperature for rice growth ranges from 25-30⁰C and for ripening can range from 20-25⁰C with differences in degrees depending on the time of the day whether day or night. In rice paddy fields, the period it takes for a rice plant to be ready for harvest from the day it was sowed is approximately 120 days. In-plant factories with sunlight and supplemental light, rice could be grown more than 3 times annually, even in weather conditions that would not have supported the growth of rice in paddy fields. In-plant factories with fully artificial light where light irradiance and growth temperature is high and can also be highly regulated, it would take a period of 90 days for a transplanted rice seedling to attain the stage at which it will be harvested, this allows for the possibility of growing rice 4 – 5 times per year, allowing a large increase in rice production per unit area attainable in a year. Over the years, crops including rice and wheat are not cultivated in plant factories with fully artificial light, even if they are grown, incidents reporting it are one in a thousand and this is because of the height of the plant and the long harvesting time, and thus it would be unprofitable.
Since seedling growth is easily influenced by conditions of the environment, implementing the use of artificial light for seedling growth would be adopted rapidly. A closed production system, which is called a seedling-terrace, has been used to produce high-quality seedlings. The main advantage to using seedling terrace for seedling growth is the ability to regulate environmental conditions since it can automatically control the light environment (light intensity, light wavelength, the direction of light, day-length), temperature, humidity, airflow, carbon dioxide concentration, water consumption, and nutrient solution.
Strides for Success to Run a Plant Factory
There are some concerns to running a plant factory. The main issues have been listed below.
- High Initial Investment and Running Cost
A lot of money is always expended on the construction of the plant factory and the supporting facilities, supporting facilities of needed in plant factory are expensive, facilities like;
Installations of LEDs
Environmental Control System
Also, the electricity costs incurred are a big deal; electric consumption is another serious problem during plant production. In a plant factory, the major electric consumption elements are lighting and air conditioning (e.g., heat pumps), and both LEDs and heat pumps are indispensable, they are required during the whole growth period of plants. To realize a cost reduction for the construction and the supporting facilities will be necessary.
2. Space Constraint for Rice Plant Growth
Rice plants can grow up to a height of 1.0 – 1.8 m depending on the variety and region the seedlings are native to. Nowadays, a plant factory is best used for vegetable production, especially for leafy vegetables because they are short, compact, and would require little space, which can be easy to manage and harvest. A multi-shelf system is the staple cultivation system for vegetables in plant factories. Producing rice in a plant factory will face the challenge of space limitations.
3. Optimization of Plant Growth Conditions
Plant factories are the optimal platform for plant cultivation. The intelligent environmental control in the plant factory will offer an opportunity for the rice to grow fast and enrich a specific protein by regulating the combination of light (intensity, wavelength, and day length), temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide concentration, and nutrients.
4. New rice breeding for cultivation in Plant factories
The environmental conditions in plant factories are much different from those in the paddy field, can be well optimized for plant growth, and there should be no pests and diseases. Therefore, there is no need to hold disease resistance, insect resistance, and environmental stress tolerance for heat, cold or drought stress, as plants have been traditionally selectively bred for. So, new rice breeding for growth in plant factories will be necessary.
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