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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Nerea zeolitic fertilizers stand out for contributing to crop nutrition

Havana, Apr 15 - In an interview with Prensa Latina, the head of the Department of Soils and Fertilizers of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dagoberto Rodríguez, explained that the main economic and technical effect of the application of Nerea in the agroclimatic conditions of the island is that it limits the equivalent losses.

In other words, the natural losses in the soil structure caused by washing and leaching, either by irrigation or rainfall, decrease almost to zero. But it also benefits the economy of farmers as they need to use less amounts of equivalent nutrients, he said.

He exemplified that to meet 100 percent of the nutritional demand of the plant by applying 100 kilograms of NPK fertilizer, it is necessary to use more to replace the losses that occur naturally.

Coupled with this, there are two other phenomena that drive employment in the Nereas, one the depression in the purchase of fertilizers abroad -in the last three years-, together with the dissatisfaction of the country's demand, he stressed.

Rodríguez pointed out that along with the research results, the acceptance of the producers is important, and in the context of the Ordering Task there are also advantages, since in the purchase of an imported chemical fertilizer the dollar is multiplied by 24 Cuban pesos.

While acquiring this natural fertilizer - with a small imported component - the cost for farmers is lowered, as well as economic and technical aspects that favor its approval.

Another benefit in the application of the Nereas is that with low concentrations more areas of cultivation can be covered with high levels of efficiency, and this consequently results in savings in transportation.

Although he emphasized that these zeofertilizers should be used according to the crop, since each one carries a certain dose, and clarified that depending on the sowing, they could produce up to 50 tons of Nerea for each ton of imported fertilizer.

In addition, he assured, they have an effect on the improvement of the soil because by incorporating minerals it contributes to its productive capacity.

For this year, he added, the production of about five thousand tons of Nerea is expected, and stressed that with about one thousand tons an important fertilization area can be covered if one takes into account that its use can be two kilograms per hectare.

But there are still some issues pending, he said, such as the reasonable distribution from Nerea's production facilities in Geomining companies throughout the country to reduce transportation costs to the various poles of agriculture.

Another challenge for the industry is to increase the productive capacity and incorporate natural nutrients, guarantee the packaging and the logistics of marketing and transportation in the agricultural business system, Rodríguez added.

It is a positive experience, of how a technology transfer from a university to a company can bring benefits to the parties involved, he said.

To expand on the subject, Prensa Latina approached the Merit researcher from the University of Havana and Doctor of Science Gerardo Rodríguez, one of the forerunners of research on the application of zeolite in fertilizers.

The researcher said that the zeolitic industry was created in 1988 by the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, a program that did not exist on the island or the world and over time evolved with the creation of Nerea products.

Created 30 years ago and disadvantaged by the effects of the so-called Special Period, in 2018 work on this production line was intensified due to the lack of fertilizers.

Nerea is a generic brand, he explained, with five lines of zeofertilizers protected by the industrial secret of the University of Havana, and recently patented from the interests of foreign companies.

According to Rodríguez, the principle of the Nereas is to incorporate the exact nutrients required by the plantations into the fertilizers, and if they are not used, they are kept for the next harvest.

This program is a sample of the importance of productive chains, where the University of Havana, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Geominero- Salinero Business Group are articulated, he stressed. (Text and photos: PL)