The website of Ekosphera online newspaper has posted an article dedicated to environmentally safe methods of growing tomatoes in the greenhouse complexes of the ECO-Culture holding. The periodical’s main scope of activity is ecology – news, expert opinions, interviews with businessmen and government representatives, as well as tips and advice on how to live and act ecologically.
The article talks about the dangers of pesticides that kill birds and insects, harm people, and also disrupt ecosystems. The scientists warn about the risks of uncontrolled and widespread use of pesticides. Over 70 years of their use, the global insect population has declined by 70 per cent, and the soil is becoming less and less fertile.
And while it is impossible to do without plant protection in agriculture, the use of chemical methods is not necessary. The experience of ECO-Culture, the country’s largest agricultural holding, has shown that it is quite possible to protect vulnerable agricultural crops by biological methods – safe for the environment and human health. This is a technique developed by nature itself. Their natural enemies – insect predators – are used against the pests.
The idea of using entomophages (predatory insects) to protect plants is not new. Many centuries ago, ants and ladybugs were used for this purpose. However, this method is based on the regulation of natural biological processes and is considered to be one of the most difficult to set up.
Within ECO-Culture’s greenhouse complexes, the control over biological protection is carried out by the company’s special departments. They breed macrolophus bugs in special laboratories (insectariums) and use them to kill the main pests of tomatoes – whiteflies and aphids.
The authors of the article spoke to Lyubov Prytkova, the Chief Agronomist of the holding. According to her, entomophages require constant attention from biotechnologists. They need to monitor the biological activity of the insects, protect them from diseases, and control their population. This is the only way to ensure the method’s effectiveness. The main thing is not to disturb the fragile ecological balance intentionally created in greenhouses.
Predatory bugs are not the only insect workers in the company’s greenhouses. Other winged helpers – bumblebees – are responsible for crop fruiting and pollinating the plants. Bumblebees live in special hives, designed to meet all the biological needs of the insects. The very fact that bumblebees feel great in greenhouse complexes serves to confirm the environmental safety of ECO-Culture’s vegetables. After all, had chemicals been used in the greenhouses, these environmentally sensitive creatures simply would not have survived.
There is yet another level of protection, a more sophisticated one. Fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms get mixed in such a way as to ensure the plants are properly nourished.
Lyubov Prytkova explained to Ekosphera that a special nutrient substrate for tomatoes – mats made of coconut shavings – is inhabited by beneficial microflora. The microorganisms prevent a hostile environment that could harm plants from developing. As a result, tomatoes grow strong and healthy.
Rejection of chemical means in favor of biological ones has a positive effect on the gustatory qualities of vegetables, which is reflected in their constantly growing popularity in the consumer market. The holding’s products are supplied to all major retail chains in the country including Magnit, Lenta, X5 Retail Group, Azbuka Vkusa, Diksi, Magnolia, and others. Not only that, international restaurants such as McDonald’s and KFC are supplied with the products, too.
For the full text of the article please visit Ekosphera’s website.