Source: eKapija | Tuesday, 03.04.2018.| 15:49
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Algo Tehnology to penetrate Chinese market as well – Unique products based on brown sea algae help put out fire and strengthen plant immunity

Algo Tehnology, this year's recipient of the Aurea award, handed by our portal, operates in the field of agriculture, which is not so unusual for Serbia. What makes them exotic, however, is the main raw material they use – the brown sea algae, the process of extraction of which has been mastered by this Topola-based company.

This has resulted in products which have been implemented in agriculture as biostimulants and fermentors, as well as in ecology as fermentors for improving the quality of waters and landfill treatment, and a fire extinguishing product. The wider public learned about the company last year, when their products were used in extinguishing the Vinca landfill fire and preventing it from spreading further.

As far as Algo Tehnology knows, products based on brown sea algae are not used in the field of ecology anywhere in the world. Due to the fact that, in many segments, a wider use of these products is prevented by the lack of regulations, a problem that needs to be addressed in Serbia as well, the company still primarily focuses on the development of products to be implemented in agriculture – in fruit and vegetable growing and in farming. The benefits of their products, already familiar to farmers in Serbia, are now being introduced to farmers in Macedonia, and official export to China will start soon as well.

Expansion

Brown sea algae are found in oceans in the places where warm and cold sea currents meet. Algo Tehnology imports them from Ireland and Norway, from direct producers. The process of extraction mastered by the company is ecological at the base – it is carried out without the use of large amounts energy or expensive chemical processes, making them 30-40% more competitive regarding the price of the final products compared to other producers.

The extraction process is the result of several years of research (since 2010), developed from the initial interest of Zeljko Pantic, one of the founders of Algo Tehnology, in the extraction of aromatic medicinal herbs. Products such as natural biostimulators made through the extraction of sea algae didn’t exist in the Serbian market before and they are therefore not regulated by Regulations on Fertilizers, forcing Algo Tehnology to prove the value of the product through experiments carried out at the Institute of Soil Science and the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops. The process of registration was completed in September 2016, the production and the Development Lab started being set up in October, whereas 2017 was their first year in the market.

– As a type of fertilizer, biostimulators based on the brown sea algae have been implemented in agriculture – in orchards, the production of melons, apples, grapes, but also in pepper plantations and tobacco production – Zeljko Pantic told our portal.

– We have a large number of satisfied clients in the areas of Jagodina, Trstenik, Osecina, in Vojvodina... So far, we have been primarily focusing on fruit growing, where we expect an increase in sales of 30 to 40% this year, whereas in 2018, we will focus on farming, which has suffered a lot lately, above all because of the drought.

It has been show, for example, that the implementation of these biostimulators in orchards, during the last winter, which was extremely cold, prevented the plants from freezing even at 5 degrees below zero. Also, the wheat frozen in January 2017 managed to recover in only two weeks thanks to the treatment with products based on the brown sea algae. Regular use also helps the plant build immunity, and the products can also be used in organic and traditional production, as well as on all cultures.

Five products are being produced at the company's facilities in Pranjani near Cacak for now: 3 in agriculture (AlgoAlfa, AlgoFagus i AlgoPsan) and 2 in ecology (Algo Composter i Algo Preor), and the first amounts, around 6 tons, were exported to the Macedonian market around 20 days ago.

– This amounts to around EUR 130,000 in gross value. We have founded our own company in Macedonia, which will serve as an importer and technological and marketing support with the two sub-distributors we have now, and the plan is to also start cooperating with a third one as well in the field of ecology and livestock breeding products – Pantic says.

Mihailo Vesovic, Deputy General Manager of the CCIS, handing out the Aurea 2018 award to Zeljko Pantic of Algo Tehnology
In June 2017, an agreement was signed with the Chinese company Dafeng Harbor, which, as our interviewee points out, defined the “concrete steps”.

– The first three pertain to the registration of the products in the Chinese market, which is in progress. We have already performed several experiments and our partners are extremely satisfied with the results. We expect a visit from their delegation this April, and this is a big state company, a true giant which employs 70,000 workers and has an annual turnover of around USD 20 billion. Their primary business is related to a port which serves as a side port to the one in Shanghai, and the also have a biotechnology institute and large vegetable plantations.

Receiving the Aurea 2018 investment of the year award, Pantic said that he was extremely glad that their contribution to the development of modern achievements in agriculture and ecology had been recognized and that the prestigious award would be an inspiration and the driving engine for their further development and progress. In moments such as this, he emphasized, they are aware that they haven't made a mistake when they decided to stay in Serbia some time ago when they were offered to start their production abroad.

New uses


In the upcoming period, the company expects to achieve stronger cooperation with the competent ministries, especially in the domain of ecology. They've already carried out some experiments in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency (the Ministry of Ecology) on drainage canals in Kotez, which are in a bad state due to the disposal of fecal waters. External control confirmed that the usage of products based on the brown sea algae had drastically reduced the unpleasant smell within 2-3 days and improved the quality of water.

Algo Tehnology also expects a wider use of fermentors in the treatment of manure pits, where they accelerate the decomposition and help neutralize the unpleasant smells.

– We have received confirmation that the product used in manure pits may also be used in stables, in the presence of animals, and that it secures better conditions. This is in accordance with the Nitrates Directive of the EU, which regulates excessive use of nitrates and proper storage – Pantic says and adds that they expect new projects of the Ministry of Ecology that they will apply for.

Algo Tehnology products have been tested in landfills as well, in order to dissolve the disposed organic matters and neutralize the unpleasant smell of ammonia.

– The implementation of these products in the field of ecology is a new concept and we are still waiting for the conditions for a wider use to meet. We are already cooperating with several landfills, where we've performed experiments – the regional landfill Duboko and the local one in Ljig, and we've also cooperated with the PE Waste Management in Belgrade. When fire broke out at the Vinca landfill last year, we decided to test our products as fire extinguishing agents, which was successfully realized – our interviewee concludes.

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