05 Mar Corporate news
Tradecorp held the IsliFe Innovation Forum, where the company launched IsliFe 8.2, its latest innovative iron chelate.
This event was a space designed to create dialogue about current and future issues and trends challenging the agricultural sector. Throughout the event, there were a series of roundtables. The third titled, “Innovation in agricultural products as part of the sustainability,” focused on the history and current challenges this market faces.
Experts also gave insights on the innovations that are currently underway. Amongst these professionals were: Ms. Kristen Sukalac, Public Affairs at EBIC, along with Doctor Thomas Fleming, researcher of Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, Mr. Burhan Simsek, General Manager at AMC Group and Mr. Juan J. del Pozo, General Manager at Rodel.
Q.- What has the innovation in agronomical products meant for the market over the last years?
A.-What’s interesting to see, is the type of innovations that are being created, along with the changes in innovations. Think back to when agricultural production started to take off, that is, in the post-war period. This was thanks to improved seeds, fertilizers, and crop protection products. However, the way we looked at this was a very space-age way of looking at everything.
Q.- How many years ago was that?
A.-Not too long ago, but it was what we call a black box model. This is where you put in more fertilizer, you get more yield, you put in more pesticides, and you have a better yield. That model worked for a long time, but then we started to see the limits. For example, there being low nutrient use efficiency, and resistance to pests. At that point, research started to take on a new emphasis. Instead of just looking at those individual, isolated events, researchers began to look at the biological systems. That is, how the plants interact, not just with those products, but with the microorganisms in the soil. There was then this growing awareness of the need to look at it in a more integrated way.
While we have heard a lot about the percentage growth in organic agriculture, what we haven’t taken into account is the contribution that organic agriculture made in sparking the thinking about looking at this as a biological system. This has had a huge influence on more conventional agriculture. This means we are getting more products that are taking this into account.
In a way, the introduction of biostimulants is the embodiment of that. In a way, they bridge this artificial divide between plant nutrition and plant protection and have a more holistic idea of plant health. However, it also introduces complexity into farm management.
Q.- Have we reached the maximum efficiency with innovation?
A.- Absolutely not! You can’t have sustainability without efficiency. It’s just not going to work. Specialty fertilizers and biostimulants were an infancy of these products. Within the past 10 years, this technology has come out of nowhere. A lot of these new products are ‘state of the art.’ Unlike the old products, with very few active compounds in them, these new products have hundreds of different components and bioactives within them.
This adds complexity and an understanding of how they function. In addition, there are environmental stresses in the fields. It is good to know that the product can work in controlled conditions, however out in the field there are multiple stresses. There are decades more work to be done in this field of research.
Q.- Can biodegradability and zero residue be an essential element of innovation in the industry?
A.- Absolutely yes. For sustainable agriculture, it is important to take care of the soil. We have to take care of our future and our soil because we can change the products, but we cannot change the soil. For that reason, we have to use zero residue biodegradable products. Residue is currently one of the most important subjects of the sector, everybody is talking about it. However, this is not easy to totally reach. In Turkey, where I am from, most of the farms are conventional farms. It is not easy to change their habits to implement the use of biological or zero residue products. With the production that is exported to Europe we have to take care of this residue problem. However, if farmers don’t receive a profit then they will not spend too much money. This is very important and should be considered when exporting innovative products. Finally, I conclude that residue is our future and needs to be considered by the farmers as well as the companies.
Q.- Does the market demand this innovation or does it come from the commitment itself awareness of the manufactures of inputs?
A.- I think it is a combination of both factors. We need both. The growers except the suppliers, which in this case ask to deliver this kind of technology. That is why we feel part of producing roses. We need to make new technologies that help farmers produce more flowers per square meters in order to have profitability. The roses we produce are a unique type of red, and if it were not for the iron chelate (IsliFe), it would not be that bright and the foliage would not be that green.