Productos Organicos Panameños

Productos Organicos Panameños : Recycling organic wastes from the city to produce fertilizer

Panama, PanamaPanama, Panama
Year Founded:
2012
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Panamá imports most of the fertilizer used to grow food, our landfills are overflowing with organic wastes from the cities. We developed a intensive vertical methodology to recycle organic wastes and produce organic fertilizer in liquid and solid forms son nationwide in Panama.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could recycle all of the organic waste generated in the cities and produce high quality organic fertilizer inexpensive for gardeners and farmers alike?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Panama grows its food by importing fertilizers. This makes us vulnerable to global market changes in prices for fossil fuels and other items which in turn rise the price in food. Panama has a big problem dealing with wastes. Organic wastes being the most troublesome.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We are addressing this problem by developing a system which recycle wastes in a vertical layout saving space, compared with the traditional approach using horizontal composting beds. Producing our own fertilizers from wastes will reduce our vulnerability to global market whims. We have been able to recycle 900kg of organic waste every 60 days and produce around 700kg (dry weigh) of solid fertilizer and over 2052 liters of the liquid form.

Awards

Premio produccion mas limpia del Ministerio de Ambiente de Panamá
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Our project is still very small and we are capable to recycle 1000 kg of vegetable wastes in 6 square meters producing 2052 liters of liquid fertilizer and 900 kg of solid fertilizer every two months. If we could expand our operation to a 400 square meters area we could process a large amount of the wastes generated in Panamá city. Our liquid fertilizer is sold nationwide and through organic growth (word of mouth) is becoming one of the most popular fertilizers in our cities even against large multinational like Miracle Grow which is very popular amongst gardeners. We are still working on our prototype to produce the solid form but is still labor intensive.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Our liquid fertilizer: Planta Feliz is now sold nationwide produced completely from wastes in Panamá city, but we are reaching households mainly. We want to provide farmers with a high quality easy and safe (for them and the environment) fertilizer. If we can increase our production and our sales we could lower the product prices matching those of cheap synthetic fertilizer. In the process recycling over 900kg of organic wastes per 6 cubic meters of vertical space.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We want to build a large facility with several areas, one to recycle wastes where we buy wastes from local gatherers as a creating jobs and a agriculture laboratory to develop and teach sustainable farming methods for entrepreneurs, farmers and students of all kinds. The wastes to be recycled are to be purchased from trained individuals who will control quality and gather it from local market, we will also pick wastes from restaurants in the city weekly using small trucks, restaurantes will reciever fertilizer in return.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our project is a entrepeneur project and it has been finantially selfreliable since 2014. We have a business Plan and are planing to diversify our products and services as a gardening supplies store, fertilizer factory and teaching facility.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are plenty of fertilizer providers in Panamá most import fertilizer, others import the ingredients and mix them locally. There are also several companies like ABOQUETE recycling wastes from agriculture to produce fertilizer. We are the only project recycling wastes from third parties, giving something in return, in example for every kilogram of wastes given by restaurants we are working to give a number of liters of fertilizer in return.
Team

Founding Story

While I was developing my dissertation project to create a model for urban agriculture in the city of Panamá, I had to make my own fertilizer because what was sold locally did not addressed my needs. I shared my product with a friend, his dad told me that it was great stuff, his crops were growing much larger and abundantly. He said: You should sell this stuff!

Team

1 man team, my brother, mum and wife are drag to help me prepare bottles of fertilizer to supply my clients (over 30 stores nationwide) every now and then. I do everything else: sales, marketing, collecting materials (organic wastes), research and development and of course, someone has to clean. Currently I am trying to lure investors so we can open a small store in Panamá city, without much luck, because fertilizer business is not as fast growing as most venture capitalist like.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Radio add

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Owner

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Zero Hunger, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I tried to create a restaurant with online games to host tournaments in order to create professional gamers (people able to earn a living from playing online games) we got arm robbed and a clients life was put in danger, then I decided to give up the dream before getting someone killed. Then I tried opening my own recycling company which it failed because I did not have enough resources to rent a space to segregates valuable materials from garbage, or a truck to gather them, that failure gave origin to the idea of recycling organic wastes because there was a lot of those and little competition.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

I have a great advisor, my wife, she is both inspiration and a link to reality when my mind starts to jump around.
I have 2 partners: Owners of restaurant Intimo in Panamá city who gave me a space in their garden to start my project.