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Linear Low Density Polyethylene Drip Irrigation Pipes Ms Poorvi C. Desai, Sr.

. Manager, Business Development - Polymers, Ms Davneva Phira, Manager, Polymers Reliance Industries Limited

The Indian Plastic Industry witnessed a sweeping change from 1970s to 2000 with increasing number of entrepreneurs entering the plastic business. An entrepreneur can start with a low investment in various projects. Achievements of the plastic industry have led to gains to the common man.

The range of plastics products begin at our doorstep with a Linear Low Density Polyethylene milk pouch. Throughout the day we come across various products that offer functionality, convenience, hygiene and safety.

Plasticulture products lead to higher yield (productivity) of plants. These products include LLDPE mulch film, LLDPE drip irrigation pipes, HDPE raschel bags and HDPE agrishade nets. A robust distribution pattern with more number of products would lead to a much more viable business.

Pipes form one of the major sectors in plastic processing industry & contribute to very great extent in achieving high volumes of sales. Further, expansion of the pipe units is taking place at a rapid pace & these pipe processors are well placed with a wide distributor/dealer network.

Linear Low Density Polyethylene Drip Irrigation pipes can be manufactured by a Polyolefin pipe extruder which manufactures High Density Polyethylene Gas pipes. A High Density Polyethylene pipe extruder can manufacture Polypropylene pipes on the same extruder with modifications in the machinery.

Need for Plasticulture

The need for increasing food production to meet the increasing demands of the expanding population by reducing resource base of cultivable land and water and hence effective and efficient use of these resources is a necessity. Growth in agricultural production will have to be based on productivity improvement by application of technologies like drip irrigation etc. To remain self sufficient in food grains, we need another green revolution, or rather, a greener, revolution.


Plasticulture is the use of plastics in Agriculture, horticulture, water Management, food grains storage and related areas: Plasticulture in water management Drip Irrigation Controlled Environment Agriculture LDPE Film Mulching

HDPE Crates, PP Leno bags, HDPE Raschel bags, HDPE Agrishade Nets, HDPE Woven sacks, HDPE & PVC Pipes, LLDPE Mulch film, HDPE Tarpaulins

The factors that will lead to growth of Plasticulture in India are : Increase in population Higher rate of urbanisation Dual Income families & Economic Liberalisation Economic Growth Fruits prevents disease such as heart, diabetes & cancer

India ranks No.2 & No.3 producer of fruits & vegetables in the world - India, currently produces about 50 million tonnes of fruit & about 90 million tonnes of vegetables, a huge potential exists for LLDPE Drip Irrigation Pipes Monetary gains to the farmers and entrepreneurs :

Benefits to Farmers

Increase in productivity (yield) to the crops

Benefits to Entrepreneurs High Value Added Products - Flexibility of high Product Mix - High Capacity Utilisation - High Net Profitability

Indian Trend Drip Irrigation Examples of innovative adaptations of low cost systems by farmers to suit their needs show that drip technology made simple and flexible can work in ways that are more dynamic.

Recurrent drought and scarce water resource has led to inefficient water use. What a farmer needs is higher productivity (yield), savings in water and fertilizer; what an entrepreneur needs is an increase in net profitability. The use of the versatile plastic product, Linear Low Density Polyethylene Drip Irrigation pipes has led to gains, both to farmers as well as entrepreneurs and therefore the industry. A farmer aims to reduce cost through effective use of fertilizers and water by the use of plastic products (plasticulture). Plastics pipes vary from very small diameter used in drip irrigation pipes to large diameter water supply pipes for irrigation. Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation is a technique in which the water is filtered, conveyed through PVC or HDPE mainlines, LLDPE lateral lines and then let out in droplets through drip nozzles or microtubes placed directly at the rootzones of the plants. The quantity and rate of water application can be matched to varying crop requirements.

Besides conveying water, linear low density polyethylene drip irrigation pipe leads to uniform distribution of water and fertilizer. Since the system is further bifurcated into submain line, laterals and emitter/dripper, there is water saving by use of drip irrigation technique.

Micro irrigation helps to economize water use, reduce the irrigation cost per unit land and increase the yield per unit area and unit quantum of water.

The laying of LLDPE Drip Irrigation pipes becomes difficult in monsoons. Advantages of Drip Irrigation Systems

1. About 50% saving in water consumption 2. Uniform distribution of water and fertilizer 3. Over 30% increase in yield 4. Reduced weed growth 5. Suitable for poor soil and water

Drip irrigation system includes the Main Line, Submain line, Laterals & Emitters/Drippers

1. Mainline is made up of PVC & HDPE which are of 65 mm diameter and above. 2. Submain conveys the water uniformly to lateral lines and are made up of PVC, HDPE or LDPE which are of diameter 32 mm to 75 mm 3. Laterals convey water uniformly by means of drippers or emitters and are made up of LDPE or LLDPE and are of internal diameter 10,12 & 16 mm 4. Emitters reduce the pressure head 0.5 to 1.5 atmospheres to zero atmospheres

Micro Irrigation

By converting 1 lakh land area under micro irrigation


Total water saving is 347 million Cu. Meters / annum. Fertilizer saving of Rs. 105 cores Saving of 271 lakh KWH of energy per year worth Rs. 7crores by pumping less water.

Status in India

Better water use efficiency (60-70%) Increase in yield (30 100%) Saving in Fertilizer usage (40%) Cultivation in saline land possible.

One million Ha under Drip Irrigation Two million Ha under Sprinkler Irrigation There is a potential of about 50 million Ha under drip and 20 million Ha under Sprinkler Irrigation

Crop Tomato Sugarcane Okra Potato Cabbage Brinjal Chilli Bottle Gourd Cauliflower

Increase in yield % 25-50 50-60 25-40 20-30 30-40 20-30 10-40 20-40 60-80

Water Saving % 40-60 30-50 20-30 40-50 50-60 40-60 60-70 40-50 30-40

Objectives of Micro Irrigation System

Save Water & Electricity Multi cropping for higher returns Efficient use of fertilisers Solution for water/soil problems Maximize crop productivity

Comparison between Conventional Irrigation v/s Microirrigation

1. The yield in microirrigation can be increased upto 15-150% in comparison to lower crop yield in conventional irrigation 2. 40-70% water saving in microirrigation compared to conventional irrigation where losses occur due to evaporation, percolation and runoff 3. Effeciency of water in microirrigation is high about 80-95% in comparison to conventional of 3050%

Manufacturing Process

Pipe extrusion is defined as a process of forcing the polymer melt through a die. The extrudate from the die is sized, cooled and the formed pipe is pulled to the winder or a cut off device with the aid of haul off device. Prior to this, polymer is fed into a hopper, conveyed by a rotating screw through a barrel. This is subjected to high temperature and pressure.

PE Piping system has many advantages :

Light weight Flexible Long lasting Economical Easy for transportation & installation

Applications Irrigation Drip, Sprinkler and Lift Irrigation

Drip Laterals are flexible tubings used in drip irrigation system. A single screw extruder suitable for processing LLDPE. Melt temperature is 2150 C to 2250 C. Incorporating of processing aid and screen pack with a mesh of 100/80/60 is recommended.

Advantages of using LLDPE

Flexibility: LLDPE pipes have specific elastic properties and can take a wide range of curvatures. Long lengths can be transported as coils. They are corrosion proof Suitable for handling most types of corrosive acids and alkalis. Offer excellent chemical resistance properties.

Business with Plasticulture Monetary gains to the farmers along with an increase in productivity (yield) by the use of plastic products would lead to a growth in this industry. The loss which the farmers would otherwise have made by not using these products is huge. The benefits of these plastic products and the gain in terms of productivity (yield) of the crops by using these plastic products need to be communicated to the farmers.

Local people who can communicate in the local language to these farmers are required. These people could be commission agents. These commission agents will bring in a faster market penetration and wider usage of these products. These products also need to be marketed parallely through dealers who market other agricultural plastic products in their shops. Thus, a robust distribution pattern with these elements is needed.

The major axis on which the pipe business lies is on the dealers. Good quality products to the farmers which mean 100% virgin material create a good brand for the processor. Inferior quality product with pipe failures in a short time would lead to product rejection by the farmers harming the image of the dealer as well as the processor.

The high market potential for agricultural plastic products and lower number of manufacturers of these products in the country would bring in more number of entrepreneurs in this business. A higher product mix can increase the average selling price of the final product and lead to higher net profitability. Net profitability depending on factors such as capacity utilization can be met by this high market potential in the country.

Increase in capacity utilization and a product mix would help entrepreneurs in eliminating the risk of the seasonality of products such as pipe business for irrigation. A product mix with applications such as high density polyethylene pipes for gas applications etc would eliminate the risk of seasonality of these products.

Besides this, the versatility of the extruder capable of producing all polyolefins on the same pipe extruder brings in other end uses of high density polyethylene pipes such as drinking water, submersible pipes and jet pumps. Polyethylene Pipes for Entrepreneurs

Pipe business with high volumes is a good business for entrepreneurs. This is a gain for both the industries as well as agriculture. By increasing product mix, the project approaches a higher profitability. Pipes, known as a tube for conveying media such as water, fuel, liquids for numerous enduses such as agriculture, automotive, medical, electrical fields. New enduses such as sewerage brings in a new horizon for the entrepreneurs in this business.

Project Writeup New Projects Under the Guidance of Entrepreneur Development Programme Cell, Reliance Industries Limited

Project Financials

Project Startup

Single and double walled corrugated pipes, which are at an infant stage in the country, are available for numerous end-uses and end-users. Plastics pipes ranging from small diameter to large diameter such as outer diameter 1000 mm are manufactured in the country.

Water is needed for survival of human beings; clean water needed for drinking can be provided by plastic pipes. Plastic pipes offer excellent corrosion resistance and ensures clean delivery of water. Corrosion resistance of plastic pipes brings in multiple endusers in food processing industries. Plastic pipes are needed for survival of plants (crops) and help farmers with better monetary gains. Productivity increases for farmers by use of plastic pipes, while productivity increases for entrepreneurs by use of larger diameter plastic pipes.

Entrepreneurs who manufacture other plastic products use the same distribution/ network for Linear Low Density Polyethylene Drip Irrigation pipes. Diversification in a field similar to the existing business is a strategy used by most of the entrepreneurs to help them market the products with the existing distributor/dealer network.

The existing pipe processors who are well established in the business for many years are now looking at other alternatives in the pipe business. Eg. The processors of LLDPE Drip Irrigation pipes now look at diversification into HD/PP Pipes so that they can use the same distribution/dealer network.

An increase in the net profitability of the pipe business due to more number of machines & higher volume of business has resulted in expansion units. The existing processors also have their own team of marketing graduates in agriculture and who visit the farmers for supplying pipes to them directly.


Today, entrepreneurs are keen to set up a pipe unit mainly due to the fact that the pipes can be marketed through distributors/dealers making their business easy with one single operation i.e. manufacturing. However, some of the processors have opened their own shops & deal directly with farmers eliminating one intermediary step of distributors/dealers.

Some processors now aim at expanding their current manufacturing capacities, fully aware of the demand of these pipes through direct deals with the farmers without distributors/dealers.

Entrepreneur Development Programme (EDP) Cell, Reliance Industries Limited

Entrepreneur Development Programme Cell of Reliance Industries Limited leads projects from seed to fruition. With its help, plans of expansions/diversifications can be drawn up. Support is given by this Entrepreneur Development Programme Cell from Project Identification Stage to Implementation Stage. Achieving low payback periods, high product mix, new applications, and new enduses can be developed with the help of the EDP Cell. EDP helps in climbing steps of success for entrepreneurs.


Pipe business is one such business that has a high market potential in the country. This business involves projects with very low investments making it possible for entrepreneurs to start business in a small way. New entrants in this business need to look at a higher product mix to help them achieve a higher net profitability, eg. HDPE Gas pipes & LLDPE Drip Irrigation pipes. Good quality Linear Low Density Polyethylene Drip Irrigation pipes of virgin material would help farmers have faith in a brand of pipes of that processor and also lead to lower rejections in distribution network and higher sales.