Baramoda, the first agri-tech startup in the Middle East and Africa, announced it has recycled 9,188 tonnes of agricultural waste to produce 5,500 tonnes of organic fertilizers, the company’s CEO Mostafa Elnaby announced.
Baramoda is specialised in sustainable agricultural innovations, and produces organic fertilizers for different soil types and crops.
Daily News Egypt interviewed Elnaby to know more about the startup’s business and expansion plan.
Can you tell us more about the company’s business?
Our company operates in agricultural waste recycling and producing organic fertilizers. It is an alternative to chemical and traditional fertilizers to be used in desert and agricultural lands.
Baramoda’s first production unit is based in Qena, cultivating an area of 343,747 feddan, targeting 375,000 feddan by 2025.
Baramoda uses advanced biotechnology to produce high-quality organic fertilizers tailored for different lands and crops at competitive prices.
Additionally, we provide innovative solutions to maximise the efficiency of agri-waste management, minimise the cost of production, reduce excessive use of chemical fertilisers, and increase crop production at minimal water consumption.
What is the idea behind constructing this factory?
There are about 38m tonnes of agricultural waste annually, of which only 12% was recycled, in addition to about 12m tonnes of animal waste annually, of which only 3m tonnes were used to produce organic fertilizers.
Hence, it becomes necessary to direct attention to recycling agricultural waste. It is vital to convert these wastes into materials with economic value that contribute to increasing the productivity of agricultural crops, saving energy, and protecting the environment.
Over and above, chemical fertilizers are artificial components that could cause many environmental problems because some fertilizers contain heavy metals such as cadmium and chromium, as well as high concentrations of radionuclides. These fertilizers harm corps and pollute water, and the excessive use of them affects the production quantity and quality.
We are in our company in charge of producing natural organic product (compost) to substitute chemical fertilizers to reduce their risks on the environment.
What services does the company provide?
We provide innovative solutions to maximize the efficiency of agri-waste management, minimise the cost of production agricultural, reduce excessive use of chemical fertilizers, and increase crop production, at minimal usage of water resources. Moreover, we seek to lead the way to green environment by taking care of earth’s finite resources.
Through our products, we also deliver sustainable solutions to the agriculture sector. Our products can improve soil health, enrich crop quality, minimise water usage and overall land management to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. We are seeking a sustainable, safe, and clean environment through reducing pollution, endorsing recycling agricultural wastes in order to handover the environment “pollution-free” for upcoming generations.
What is the company’s production capacity?
Last year, we have recycled 9,188 tonnes of agricultural waste and produced 5,500 tonnes of organic fertilizers. However, our production capacity is 20,000 tonnes.
In the first half of this year, we produced 4,000 tonnes and we target reaching 12,000 tonnes by the year-end. In addition, we cultivated 1,387 feddan, and minimised the usage of chemical fertilizers by 25%.
Where do you distribute the company’s production?
We currently distribute our production in Upper Egypt, but our plan is to expand in other areas of Egypt.
What is the value of the company’s investments?
We have invested approximately $225,000 since July 2018.
How much is the company’s sales?
Our sales reached EGP 1.8m, and we aim to achieve more next year.
What is the company’s expansion plan?
Across our company’s departments, we have teams for research and development, production, and operation working in the manufacturing plant, innovation laboratory, and distribution branch. We believe that Baramoda will lead the agriculture innovation in Egypt and the Middle East. We strive for creativity and ingenuity in the agriculture sectors to change the world. We present staff with endless opportunities to be innovative, empowering our team to explore new ideas and provide permission to fail. We constantly strive to keep moving forward, improving and innovating. It is our nature to innovate.
Therefore, Baramoda aims to own 5% market share, covering 220,000 feddan, by 2025, and sell 500,000 tonnes of fertilizers.
Accordingly, we plan to establish a new production unit in Nubaria, Beheira governorate to serve a total cultivated area of 1.1m feddan.
Baramoda is also collaborating with sugar producers by taking their industrial waste, turning it into fertilizers that can be used in cultivating sugar crops.
Moreover, we plan to expand in producing new products such as liquid fertilizers. We will also announce software technique to provide farm management system.
Did you acquire the land of Nubaria’s factory?
We still are negotiating with the owner to finalise the deal.
Do you plan to get a loan for your proposed Qena’s factory?
Yes, we are currently negotiating with three banks and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA) to finance the project.
How do you work on raising farmers’ awareness of organic agriculture?
We are focusing on raising awareness of the people in the agricultural communities, especially those targeted by our services or products, about the importance of organic agriculture and the economic value of agriculture waste.
In your opinion, what are the main problems that agriculture faces in Egypt?
Egypt is an agricultural country with a total cultivated area of 10.5m feddan, however, the agricultural sector faces several challenges, first of which is the water shortage.
One of the main reasons for the water shortage in Egypt is the agricultural sector’s high consumption, using more than 81% of Egypt’s water resources.
The second challenge is the chemical fertilizers, mainly because of their high cost, unavailability in markets, and negative effects on the soil quality. Any plant absorbs 20% of chemicals in fertilizers, while the rest is deposited as pollutants inside the plant.
The traditional alternatives of chemical fertilizers, such as animal manure also cause several plant diseases and infect the soil with nematodes and weeds.
Consequently, what is the company’s role in handling this problem?
We are interested in solving the problem because we are an agricultural innovation company and part of the agricultural community in our country. We aware that there is a strong relationship between agriculture and the problem of water shortage because 81% of Egypt’s water resources are used for agricultural activities and this is a huge percentage.
Solutions to the water shortage can be done through producing compost which can reduce the water needed for soil by 30% because it contains a high percentage of organic matter, reaching more than 45%. This helps the soil to be more cohesive and reduces the leaching of irrigate water from the soil.
Healthy soil is an important factor in protecting our waters. Compost increases soil’s ability to retain water and decreases runoff. Runoff pollutes water by carrying soil, fertilizers, and pesticides to nearby streams.