PlantCatalyst partners with iDE to reduce Zambian farmers' reliance on chemical fertilizers and increase yield per hectare
24-08-2017 05:57:00 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 3710 | Tags:

PlantCatalyst® has entered into a partnership with iDE, a Denver, CO based international non-profit dedicated to creating income and living opportunities for rural farmers, using the proprietary PlantCatalyst® technology to help farmers in Zambia reduce their reliance on chemical fertilizers and Increase profit and yield per hectare. 

The iDE partnership is the culmination of a number of research projects in the southern Africa region involving the Zambian government, various international development organizations, including iDE, and corporate partners. 

The research projects confirmed PlantCatalyst® as an important weapon in the efforts to reduce dependence on costly and potentially environmentally damaging chemical fertilizer.

PlantCatalyst® is a water additive, made with natural ingredients, which stimulates nutrient delivery and retention, thereby increasing crop yield while reducing the amount of environmentally damaging chemical fertilizers needed to grow crops.

Dette er særlig kritisk i Afrika og udviklingslande, hvor bæredygtige landbrugspraksis som for eksempel crop rotation og fallow fields ikke har taget hold på grund av harsh økonomiske forhold.

"We're very excited to have this wonderful partnership with iDE Zambia as our first foray into the south African region," said PlantCatalyst® CEO John Willard III.  "They're one of the most highly respected international aid organizations in the world and have a top-notch team on the ground in Zambia so we couldn't have asked for a better partner there.  We look forward to working with them to improve the lives of Zambian farmers and help them take another step toward moving out of poverty."

In an effort to attack rural poverty, the international development community has placed a heavy focus on increasing profit margins and production for farmers in the developing world.

The rise of fertilizer use has improved crop yields, but carried side effects such as rising costs, soil degradation and increased greenhouse gas emissions from nitrogen in fertilizer.

Adding PlantCatalyst® to a farm's routine has been proven to reduce fertilizer usage by 30 to 50 percent, while increasing crop yield by 10 percent or more per hectare.  These effects have been repeatedly proven in a number of university studies and field trials over the company's four decades in business. 

The most recent university study was recently published in the American Journal of Plant Nutrition and Fertilization Technology and demonstrated that small amounts of PlantCatalyst® increased yields on lettuce by 13%, tomatoes by 24%, bell peppers by 48% and jalapeno peppers by 52% all by using half the recommended fertilizer rate.

Willard traveled to the southern African region last year to identify and develop a series of research trials that would reflect standard farming practices in Zambia and Mozambique and provide proof of concept for the PlantCatalyst® product in the region. 

Research projects in both countries completed in the 2016/2017 growing and harvesting season clearly demonstrated the efficacy of PlantCatalyst® by showing how adding PlantCatalyst® to a farmer's nutrient regimen allowed them to reduce fertilizer amounts by at least 50% with no reduction in yield.  In many of the trials PlantCatalyst® also increased yield by double digit percentages, despite the massive drop in fertilizer usage, and increased seed germination and overall plant development. 

The partnership with iDE Zambia represents the first efforts to introduce PlantCatalyst® to the general smallholder farmer population in the region.  Working with the private sector, iDE Zambia will begin the market facilitation process in the 2017 growing cycle with a series of demonstration plots in the Southern, Central and Lusaka provinces in Zambia. 

The demonstration plots, focusing on selected horticultural and rain fed crops, will allow local farmers to observe the effectiveness of PlantCatalyst® and educate them on the costs and benefits of replacing a substantial amount of the fertilizer they use with the much cheaper and safer PlantCatalyst® product.  After the demonstration plots are completed, PlantCatalyst® will expand distribution and sales in the region as part of the iDE structure.