The government wants farmers to shift to biochar, a charcoal-like, carbon-rich substance from biomass, as a green alternative to chemical fertilizer and WasteX, a climate tech startup operating in the Philippines and Indonesia, intends to rise to the challenge.
Climate tech startup bats for green fertilizer
At a glance
As the government wants farmers to shift to biochar, a charcoal-like, carbon-rich substance from biomass, as a green alternative to chemical fertilizer and WasteX, a climate tech startup operating in the Philippines and Indonesia, intends to rise to the challenge.
WasteX recently piloted a biochar solution in a poultry farm in Cavite that belongs to one of the country's top agricultural producers.
The green fertilizer solution can bring in $5,000 annual profits for poultry farms while reducing carbon emissions, the climate tech firm stressed.
However, the results of its Cavite pilot project will not be known until "a few months" later.
Although biochar technology is still new in the country, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is eager to promote its use, WasteX pointed out.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is also trying to push biochar use among the 1,593 registered poultry farms nationwide.
WasteX's biochar is produced from rice husk and poultry litter using its proprietary equipment.
The biochar is then used as bedding additive and feed supplement.
Supplementing the bedding with up to 10 percent biochar improves broiler chicken production, and reduces chicken mortality rate by 25 percent.
Furthermore, supplementing the feed with up to 2 percent biochar, eradicates E. coli almost completely and results in healthier poultry.
So far, "The outcomes of our solution have exceeded our initial expectations," said Pawel Kuznicki, WasteX Founder and CEO.
"We are currently working with several other poultry farms in the Philippines and Indonesia to expand the implementation of our solution,” he added.
WasteX’s pilot findings revealed that total benefits for a 20,000-chicken farm would amount to more than $5,000 or ₱275,000 annually in additional savings and income.
Given the slim margins of a typical poultry farm, adopting this new practice could significantly improve farmers’ profits and livelihood.
Furthermore, WasteX guarantees carbon credits to its clients for the entire biochar production and application, amounting to $50 or about ₱2,750 per metric ton of biochar.
This could translate to up to $2,000 or about ₱110,000 per farm per year, incentivising farms to adopt this innovative solution.
Biochar is entitled to carbon credits because it captures and stores carbon for extended periods to help mitigate climate change.
If applied at full scale, biochar could transform the agricultural industry into a carbon-negative and climate-positive sector.
WasteX is a portfolio company of Wavemaker Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in Enterprise, Deep Tech, and Sustainability, co-founded by Filipinos Eric Manlunas and Paul Santos