March 2022. Morocco. Hassan II University collaborates with Ficosterra in laboratory and field tests. The photograph shows the moment of harvesting and weighing the broccoli in the field trials
The results of these first months of testing are showing 20% more profitability, reducing conventional fertilization by 30% for the first time, with the consequent savings in costs and environmental pollution.
The key has been to complement the conventional fertilization program with biostimulants made from marine algae, which prevent contamination of aquifers caused by phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium residues not assimilated by crops. The FAO points out that soil erosion of farmland washes away between 25,000 and 40,000 million tons of topsoil annually, significantly reducing crop yields and the soil’s ability to regulate water, carbon, and nutrients; and transports 23-42 million tons of nitrogen and 15-26 million tons of phosphorous, negatively affecting water quality. (FAO/ITPS, 2015a).
Study and counting of pieces. Mexicali, Baja California
January 2022: photo field trials: GN Agricultural Producers: T0: Control area: Conventional fertilization, without biostimulant treatment./ T1: Area treated with biostimulants, reducing 10% of conventional fertilization / T2: Area treated with biostimulants, reducing the 20% conventional fertilization / T3: Area treated with biostimulants, reducing the 30% conventional fertilization
COVID delays final results in Morocco
Omar and Mustafa show us one of the pieces collected from zone T4
First weighing: field tests in Azemmour, Morocco
Luis Lombana with the research and field team of the University of Casablanca
In Ficosterra’s second international experience, that of Morocco, the largest increases, of 20%, have been detected so far in the area classified as T1 (treated with biostimulants, reducing conventional fertilization by 10%). The information to be provided at the end of the trials remains to be seen. Everything seems to indicate that they are going as well as the trials in Mexico.
Assessment of the Mexican research teams
Dr. Jorge Olmos Soto, the chief investigator of the Nutrialgae project at CICESE, maintains that this type of research can demonstrate that it is not necessary to apply more fertilizers to obtain higher yields: “By reducing the application of fertilizers and applying Ficosterra biostimulants, we verified that these allow the plant better assimilation of nutrients while improving the condition of the soil and the efficiency of the microorganisms that are in them. This is possible because the seaweeds that contain ficosagro® and cystium-k® contain peptides, carbohydrates, and phytohormones, among other compounds, that induce plant growth: the absorption of nutrients and stimulate the defense system of microorganisms”
Regarding field yields, the tests carried out by GN Productores Agrícolas during the autumn-winter agricultural season confirmed that when applying Ficosterra biostimulants, the use of fertilizers was reduced by 30% and the crop yield was increased by 20%.
According to engineer Efrén Beltrán Gallegos, agricultural director of GN Productores Agrícolas, “biostimulants have improved the structure of soils, making them more porous. In addition, they help reduce the salinity of agricultural soils and maintain their productivity, which is a challenge in desert areas such as Mexicali, where tests have been carried out.
The harvested broccoli also showed better physical qualities, which could mean a longer shelf life,” engineer Beltrán told us.
In this sense, the president of the Economic Consultative Council of Ensenada, Héctor Uraga, considers that “the Ficosterra initiative contributes to sustainably raising the competitiveness of farmers, through applied science: the farmers of this region have managed to produce more in fewer extensions of land than 30 years ago, adapting to extreme climatic conditions. With less land and less water, producers have also been able to produce crops with greater profitability. And with this project (Nutrialgae) Ficosterra helps us take a step ahead”.
The CEO of Ficosterra reports the results of the trials to the Secretary of Field and Food Safety of Baja California
Meeting in GN Mexicali with the Secretary of the Countryside of Baja California
Visit to the facilities of GN Productores Agrícolas
On March 30, Luis Lombana and Roberto Marcos, founding partners of Ficosterra America, had the opportunity to present the Secretary of the Field of the Baja California government, Juan Meléndez Espinosa, with the details of the UNDP international research project, the Ocean Innovation Challenge, that Ficosterra is undertaking in Mexicalli in collaboration with GN Productores Agricolas S. de RL of C.V.
During the meeting, held at the facilities of GN Productores Agrícolas in the Mexicali Valley, they were able to deliver a complete dossier with the results of these first trials that will end their second round in December 2022.
For his part, the Secretary of the Countryside of Baja California showed his interest and strong support for the Nutrialgae project, as well as his commitment to designing a new line of collaborative research between the Government of the State of Baja California, Grupo Navarro, Ficosterra, and an educational research center, to seek effective, sustainable and ecological solutions in agriculture in the area, in the face of the high costs of fertilizers and the consequences that their use produces in the contamination of soils and seas.
At the end of the presentation, the directors of GN invited Mr. Meléndrez Espinoza, Lombana, and Marcos to take a tour of the Agroparque facilities where high-quality dates, Brussels sprouts, and some other vegetables are currently canned.
Evaluation of Luis Lombana, CEO of Ficosterra
Luis Lombana, CEO of Ficosterra, has made a first assessment of the results of the trials in Mexico as well as the first information coming from Morocco:
“The first data that the tests are showing are exceeding our initial expectations and providing arguments that prove that sustainable and more productive agriculture is possible. We have seen that the areas treated with biostimulants and 70% conventional fertilizers (T3) are the ones that have developed the most compared to the rest, but we still have to wait to see the evolution of the trials in this new effort.”
It is not overlooking the fact that “coronavirus has affected the development of international trials, starting somewhat later than the planning we had done before the shock of the pandemic. This has been noticed, above all, in the trials in Morocco. For those, I want to thank the multidisciplinary and international work team that is 100% involved in its commitment to this challenge, the Ocean Innovation Challenge.
Finally, he highlighted that “both in Mexico and in Morocco, the development of these tests are offering new opportunities for farmers, the academic world, and local researchers in the application of sustainable tools that make up the agriculture of the 21st century”
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