Ficosterra: at the center of the Circular Economy

On World Environment Day, we will tell you about the origin of our business project and how we were clear 5 years ago about the importance and future of sustainability in agriculture

In the newspaper El País, Tiago Ferrer said that “these are not good times for recycling, or at least it seems that way when we see the regrowth of plastic and single-use gloves” and affirms that “it is logical since protection against coronavirus should be a priority right now”.

And it is clear, however, that “if there is one thing that this pandemic has triggered, it is the acceleration of existing economic trends, such as the Circular Economy.”

But what is the Circular Economy?

Well, something as simple as giving new life, utility, and economic value to products that have already been used, and doing more with less

If we stop to think, there are many objects or services around us, of practically all natures, capable of having a new life. This will only be achieved if, on the one hand, we have a true will to do it and, on the other, we subject them to a meticulous process of research and development.

The European Commission has embraced the Circular Economy to boost employment, economic growth, investment and to be able to develop at the same time a carbon-free economy, efficient in the use of resources.

Consumers, for our part, have a fundamental role to play in making that transition towards a new economy that can be considered circular. This process needs a real commitment from everyone, but it is very important to start with ourselves, changing our consumption habits.

Also, from the institutions, it is necessary to work to create awareness and provide information. It could start by companies making eco-labels that inform about the durability and repairability of their products, allowing users to choose options that are more sustainable for the environment.

This should also include the agri-food sector, to which Ficosterra belongs and which, unfortunately, wastage has been and continues to be a very common practice.

Ficosterra: a business project fully in line with the new European environmental policies

As many of you already know, at Ficosterra we transform algae to regenerate soil and optimize agricultural yields.

In our factory in Burgos, we produce ECOLOGICAL FERTILIZERS and BIOLOGICAL FORTIFIERS, registered and certified by the Sohiscert agri-food certification body (SHC), which regenerate soil, stimulate crops, improve productivity, and increase the resistance of plants to environmental stress.

We were created three years ago with a clear mission: to help farmers improve the profitability of their crops with efficient, economical, and innovative fertilizers and biofertilizers, but above all, to be environmentally sustainable.

At that time, there was an early European regulation, but fortunately today, in 2020, we have a broader regulation that favors the practices and products of organic certification, and, above all, much more solid commitments have been adopted recently. Such is the example of what the European strategy “From Farm to Fork” includes.

Ficosterra and the Circular Economy

Ficosterra is a spin-off or subsidiary of Hispanagar S.A., a world leader for more than 50 years in the treatment of marine resources for the molecular biology and microbiology industry.

In its different production lines, it processes algae from oceans around the world and subjects them to sophisticated extraction and purification operations.

As a result, a wide range of agar types is obtained, including a wide range of bacteriological, pharmaceutical, food agar, numerous varieties of agarose, and a complete line of peptones.

The manufacturing process ends, like many others, with the generation of a waste that for many years this Spanish multinational delivered to farmers in the province of Burgos.

In Hispanagar they knew the regenerative properties of algae well, and they also knew that this residue – now a by-product – had great agronomic value, since the truth was that more and more farmers were queuing up to benefit from it.

In our blog post of February 2020, “Ficosterra begins its first technical sessions on algae extracts and microbial metabolism” we told you how the regenerative properties of algae have been known since ancient times.

In Roman times, algae were collected and transported to the surrounding crops to help them grow in a healthier and more vigorous way.

These practices have been repeated throughout the centuries and in all the coastal areas, but the beneficiaries were always the coastal farmers, never the inland ones.

This is easily explained by the difficulty and high costs involved with the transfer of algae beyond the vicinity of the coast.

The opportunity for all farmers to use this method is offered for the first time in Spain by Ficosterra.

Ficosterra’s business project was created five years ago to give a new agronomic use to the waste that Hispanagar generates daily

At that time a challenge was set: to investigate the waste’s usability and commercial ability.

It was necessary, first, to develop technology and then a business project that, at that time, already had a great future in mind. The demand, in the form of a “line”, already existed.

Three years of research were necessary to develop the technology; The business project then came in the form of a start-up, with other products derived from algae, and an entrepreneurial team of engineers and entrepreneurs from the Environmental sector who were in charge of putting it on the market.

Bokashi ficosterra-g®, for sale in 5L bags
Bokashi ficosterra-g®, a 100% vegetable fertilizer, free of seeds and bad odors

The first product marketed was the ficosterra-g® seaweed bokashi, an innovative 100% vegetable product composed of 80% seaweed by fermentation (Hispanagar by-product) and 20% vegetable fraction

It is registered with the Ministry of Agriculture (MAPAMA) as an organic supplement and certified by the ecological certification entity Sohiscert (SHC), making it suitable for use in both organic and conventional agriculture.

The first to prove its effectiveness was the Madrid City Council, in the orchards it maintains in the historic El Retiro park. The application results and their testimonies were real motivation and satisfaction to continue researching and developing new products.

It is a fertilizer specially indicated to be used as a soil improver in orchards, gardens, and plants as it facilitates water retention, substrate permeability, and drainage.

Today we can affirm that the start-up Ficosterra is going in the right direction; a direction that more and more consumers and the entire agri-food sector demand. Today, more than ever, we have to celebrate it.

Casos deéxito