Philippe Ouaki di Giorno, a French agricultural engineer, developed "Polyter". It’s an organic substance that can increase crop yields and saves water too.
Today, the agricultural sector alone consumes nearly 70% of freshwater reserves on the planet. An amount that will have to be massively scaled down given the demographic explosion.
In the next few years, the world population is expected to reach 9 billion people. This means more food to produce with ever decreasing amounts of water. To meet this challenge, Philippe Ouaki di Giorno has come up with a solution.
Philippe Ouaki di Giorno’s solution: Polyter
This French agronomist has been working for over twenty years on the composition of a substance he invented: Polyter. From a blend of cellulose, organic fertilizer and potassium polyacrylate, these little green pellets can be used to grow plants using very little water.
When planting, Polyter crystals are placed near the plant’s roots. When watered, each granule becomes a sort of super sponge: it absorbs 97% of the water, sometimes swelling to 500 times its original size. The roots curl naturally around the Polyter which serves as the plant’s pantry from which it can draw the water and nutrients it needs.
For five years - throughout the life of Polyter - rainwater or a minimal amount of watering allows the plant to grow. Better still, since these plants have all the nutrients they need, sizes and yields increase.
Polyter: a global challenge in arid or overpopulated regions
The invention has attracted a great deal of attention in France, where the towns of Dax, Arcachon and Fourcès have already been using it for several years. But for Philippe Ouaki di Giorno, the challenge is above all a global one: Polyter offers great hope for arid countries, or those with high population density. By increasing yields with little water, they could increase the amount of food they produce and in addition create economic wealth.
In Senegal, for example, Polyter has allowed a village of market gardeners to increase their annual tomato production from 400 kilos to 2 tonnes! All using only 3 grams of crystal per plant.
Polyter could well be a response to the two major challenges of the 21st century: population growth and resource scarcity - water being probably the most essential.
Main picture: Getty