Ficosterra has just presented its results to the authorities of the United Nations Development Program / Ocean Innovation Challenge, which demonstrated that it is possible to increase up to 20% productivity by reducing conventional fertilization by 30% for the first time, with the consequent savings in costs and environmental pollution.
Nutrient runoff: a serious marine pollution problem
Eutrophication of water occurs when an aquatic ecosystem receives organic and mineral waste and residues that are related to the increase in organic matter
One of the consequences of the abuse of fertilizers of mineral origin is the acidification and eutrophication of seas and oceans that receive, from the rivers, the remains of phosphorus and nitrogen not assimilated by the crops.
The FAO notes that soil erosion from cropland 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 transport between 23-42 million tons of nitrogen and 15-26 million tons of phosphorus, negatively affecting water quality.
To find solutions to this serious environmental problem, the United Nations Development Program launched the Ocean Innovation Challenge in 2020, a tool to accelerate the progress of SDG14 (reduce pollution of seas and oceans) by identifying public projects or innovative, replicable, and scalable private companies that promote the restoration and protection of the oceans and coasts, and the promotion of the “blue economy”.
For the research to be complete and applicable, Ficosterra has carried out two types of studies and two different campaigns, in broccoli cultivation: one in the laboratory, for which fifty pots were used inside chambers with controlled environmental conditions. Another in the field, on a large scale, in the real conditions of this crop.
In both cases, the same doses of the biostimulants ficosagro® and cystium-k® have been used, of 100% natural origin and certified for organic agriculture.
The trials of “Nutrialgae” in Mexico and Morocco have measured different parameters such as the weight of the plant with and without roots, that of the leaves, the nitrogen and phosphorus supplied and resulting leaching, and the level of productivity.
With all the data collected, it has been possible to demonstrate that with Ficosterra’s biostimulant products, crop yields can be increased by up to 15% on average, while reducing the pollution that reaches the oceans due to leaching.
In addition, it has been observed how the soils have gained in porosity and capacity to absorb nutrients, salinity has decreased, microbial activity in the soil has been stimulated and less water has been used in the crop.
Ficosterra has been successfully testing its eco-friendly products for 4 years in crops such as Alfalfa, Blueberry, Citrus, Strawberry, Potato, Watermelon, or Industrial Tomato, in areas as diverse as Andalusia (Almería and Huelva), Castilla y León (Burgos and Palencia), Valencia or Murcia. For this, it has had the collaboration of universities such as those of Almería, León or Valladolid; research centers such as the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA) of the CSIC or the Madrid Institute for Rural, Agrarian and Food Research and Development (IMIDRA), as well as farmers and clients, such as Guivarto in Almería, or Valenzuela & CiA in Huelva.
In these investigations, it has become clear that productivity increases between 10 and 15%, depending on the type of crop, in addition to the fact that these new inputs are suitable for organic, conventional, intensive, and extensive agriculture.
Environmental and economic benefits of the “Nutrialgae” project
The application of Ficosterra’s 100% eco biostimulants has not only managed to reduce 30% of environmental pollution but has also managed to double the investment initially made, which translates into a reduction in costs throughout the value chain of the agri-food industry.
With the data in hand, experts point out that there are two economic benefits to this organic agriculture project:
1. Those derived from the decrease in fertilization costs and
2. Those from the sale of broccoli
The products applied, typical of the sustainable agriculture of the 21st century, have shown that they have a high return on investment (ROI), having achieved an economic return three times higher than the costs. “To value this profit in economic terms, it is necessary to take into account not so much the quantity that is produced but the market to which it is directed, the sale price of broccoli, which varies greatly from one country to another: two dollars/kg in Mexico compared to 0.3/kg in Morocco. Hence, the value of the broccoli grown in “Nutrialgae” varies considerably and is lower in the case of Morocco”, clarifies the agronomist engineer Alejandro Martínez, technical director of the trials.
The commitment to sustainable agriculture has already led to two success stories for Ficosterra
As part of the UNDP/OIC distinction, Ficosterra will develop a support program for Ficosterra to open new business lines related to the research of “Nutrialgae”. One of these actions is the fiConcept project that is being managed with the islands of Sao Tome and Principe.
This project offers a multidisciplinary portfolio of consulting services for the sustainable management of algae. Ficosterra is already preparing a proposal for technology transfer services to support these countries in achieving their Sustainable Development Goals.
The solutions we handle are based on the evaluation of the use of seaweed to generate agricultural, livestock, and energy products, specifically, on the application of biotechnology to transform seaweed (Sargassum spp.). With this, it seeks to reduce the deterioration of soil fertility caused by excessive chemical fertilizers, nitrogen, and phosphorus runoff into the oceans, the increasing costs of fertilizers and feed, as well as methane emissions in animals.
Likewise, another success derived from the results of “Nutrialgae” is the agreement closed this month between GN Productores Agrícolas, through its subsidiary Croptek, and Ficosterra América to research, develop, use and commercialize organic products. In parallel, GN Productores Agrícolas will incorporate the biostimulants cystium-k® and ficosagro® into the company’s crop fertilization plans, while Croptek will also expand its catalog of products with biostimulants produced by Ficosterra América.
Finally, we would like to mention that the technology and the application of innovative solutions derived from sustainable agriculture that Ficosterra has offered through the “Nutrialgae” project have left an opportunity for development in the countries of origin where these trials have been carried out: Morocco and Mexico. On the one hand, local farmers have been allowed to be the first to experiment with state-of-the-art technology in crop management, saving them costs compared to the use of conventional methods. Also, of course, new job opportunities have been generated in the short, medium, and long term.
The Ocean Innovation Challenge has placed Spain’s agricultural innovation at the international level
The international project “Nutrialgae” to accelerate progress in SDG14 has had a triple benefit: “At Ficosterra we refer to the Triple Win approach, there are three winners who benefit from this regenerative agriculture: nature by reducing the carbon footprint and nutrient runoff; farmers by increasing crop yields and saving on-field products; and the people, the consumers who can access healthier food that is more respectful of the environment and its limited resources”, highlights Luis Lombana, the CEO of Ficosterra.
After more than a year and a half of research, Ficosterra can confirm that the application of its microorganism biostimulants and seaweed extracts, collected sustainably, have had three great benefits:
THE ENVIRONMENT WINS, as the carbon footprint and nutrient runoff into the sea is reduced
THE FARMERS WIN, since they achieve the productive increase of their crops
THE CONSUMER WINS, as they have access to healthier foods
Esta web utiliza cookies para que podamos ofrecerte la mejor experiencia de usuario posible. La información de las cookies se almacena en tu navegador y realiza funciones tales como reconocerte cuando vuelves a nuestra web, o ayudar a nuestro equipo a comprender qué secciones de la web encuentras más interesantes y útiles.
Más info en nuestra política completa sobre cookies y también en nuestra política completa de privacidad y avisos legales.
Esta web utiliza cookies para que podamos ofrecerte la mejor experiencia de usuario posible. La información de las cookies se almacena en tu navegador y realiza funciones tales como reconocerte cuando vuelves a nuestra web o ayudar a nuestro equipo a comprender qué secciones de la web encuentras más interesantes y útiles. Más info en nuestra política completa sobre cookies y también en nuestra política completa de privacidad y avisos legales.
Las cookies necesarias son absolutamente esenciales para que el sitio web funcione correctamente. Esta categoría solo incluye cookies que garantizan funcionalidades básicas y características de seguridad del sitio web. Estas cookies no almacenan ninguna información personal.
Para permitir el uso de cookies no necesarias, necesitamos el consentimiento del usuario. Si deseas permitir el uso de las cookies no necesarias, habilita esta casilla. Podrás retirar en todo momento el consentimiento para el uso de este tipo de cookies, en la pestaña inferior de configuración de cookies de nuestro sitio web.