International Zeolite Partners with Academia to Validate Disruptive Commercial Agricultural Products
Vancouver, British Columbia, International Zeolite Corp. (the “Company”) (TSX.V: IZ) (OTCPINKS: IZCFF) (FSE: ZEON) is an international marketer and supplier of natural zeolite and zeolite-infused products for environmental, livestock and agriculture industries. Zeolite is one of nature’s more multifaceted minerals. With its microporous honeycomb structure, the volcanic mineral acts as both a natural filter used in water and air purification and an absorbent utilized by the agriculture industry to modulate water and nutrients.
International Zeolite’s newest venture entails creating a Canadian and North American market for the Cuban product NEREA®, a proprietary, environmentally friendly technology that embeds nutrients directly into the zeolite. According to the University of Havana Foundation research, when used as a substrate or a soil amendment in agriculture, NEREA® produces higher yields of crops and uses less water. NEREA® zeoponic technology has proven to produce higher yields of crops by 20-30%, a higher quality of product, uses less water by 30% and has lower plant infection by fungus, viruses and microorganisms. NEREA® substrates are environmentally friendly and do not produce wastes that damage the environment.
The Company has partnered with Niagara College’s Research & Innovation (R&I) division to conduct two equally significant research projects. One project comprises a comprehensive market analysis of the greenhouse environment in Canada to determine the industry where NEREA® fits best. The other involves hands-on trials to test and validate the product’s technical performance.
“The challenges are to verify that the benefits obtained in Cuba can be replicated in Canadian conditions,” explains Ray Paquette, CEO, International Zeolite “and to determine how to promote commercial adoption of NEREA®-based substrates and soil-based media.”
When validated, Paquette says the benefit is that growers will gain access to an innovative technology that substantially improves greenhouse, outdoor and nursery production systems’ environmental performance while enabling yields and costs of production that are competitive or improved with existing production systems.
“In addition to potentially contributing to enhanced plant productivity, and therefore grower profitability, NEREA® differs from conventional greenhouse hydroponic systems in that the plants access the nutrients and water only as they are required, rather than continual cycling of soluble nutrients. This product has significant potential to improve greenhouse and nursery agriculture in the production of vegetables, berries and floriculture,” adds Paquette.
Researchers from R&I’s Business & Commercialization Solutions (BCS) team took up the challenge of understanding the markets and analyzed where the company could potentially focus on commercialization. Link to Touchpoint presentation.
Throughout the project, the BCS team performed comprehensive research on a number of markets in the Canadian greenhouse industry: horticulture, floriculture, organic, tropical plant and vertical indoor farm production, best known as Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA).
The research experts also provided an extensive breakdown of the substrate industry, including the materials used in substrates, their various properties and common uses. An analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on these industries was completed to better understand relevant trends in the industry.
Results of the market research suggest NEREA® would be an ideal candidate for growing lettuce and leafy greens in the greenhouse hydroponic market, a soil amendment within the horticultural industry, a soil amendment for nursery production and also as a retail plant or home-growing solution.
As food security becomes a greater issue in the coming years due to climate change and lack of suitable farming land there will be increased demand for more efficient, environmentally friendly substrates and soil amendments in greenhouse production.
“Working with the Business & Commercialization research team has been both a pleasure and professional,” says Paquette. “The team was great, and their market research report is a valued guideline.” Link to NEREA® Market Research report presented by Niagara College Research and Innovation Team.
Paquette added, “a primary focus for NEREA® is the multi-billion-dollar organic food and farming sector.” Canada is now the sixth largest organic consumer market in the world. If you combine the United States and Canadian markets they account for half of the world’s organic consumption.
International Zeolite is pleased to report the Company is now engaged with Niagara’s R&I Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre and with Vineland Research and Innovation Centre to conduct trials with NEREA®. These projects have received funding through the Greenhouse Technology Network (GTN) and through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). Results of these trials will be reported upon completion.
On Behalf of the Board
President & CEO
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