RUSTICA in the Context of Natural Renewable Resources
Currently, the international and European economy is mainly based on resources of fossil origin. These resources are subject to debate not only because of their finiteness but also with regard to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
The question of resources also comes into play if fertilisers are addressed. Mining and chemical synthesis based on crude oil and natural gas are still important pathways for gaining compounds suitable for plant nutrition.
In this respect, the questions raise: how could be responded to these challenges and how could the alternatives look like?
By exploring the appropriateness of waste and side streams from the agri-food chain and converting them into plant nutrients to be used as tailor-made and high-level solutions for various agricultural and horticultural purposes, the RUSTICA project addresses such challenges.
To validate the results of its research, the specific approach of RUSTICA comprises five regions of which four are located in Europe and one in Colombia. Hence, the project provides unique options to demonstrate how natural renewable resources by means of locally available waste and left-over materials from agriculture can serve as valuable input materials for various plant nutrition concepts.
In the course of individually adapting these plant nutrition concepts to regional requirements, the RUSTICA project paves the way for highly innovative and bio-based fertilisers and, at the same time, fosters the idea of circularity for the natural renewable resources deployed to this end.
Starting from redundant organic matter, the project creates new value chains, votes for cost-effective and affordable fertiliser products, as well as ecologically sound solutions through returning natural resources to the earth. – thus, enabling nutrition and growth of new plants by closing the loop for renewables.
Text: Adelheid Wiedemann (Wiedemann GmbH) www.wiedemann-gmbh.eu
Figure: RUSTICA RESOURCES: RENEWABLE AND CIRCULAR
Source: Own depiction (A. Wiedemann) based on RUSTICA concept
The RUSTICA project aims to foster the technical validation, demonstration and implementation of bio-based fertiliser and soil improvement production techniques focusing on waste from the fruit and vegetable agro-food system to close nutrient cycles on a regional level. An estimated 70 million tonnes of dry matter of field crop residues could be sustainably harvested for valorization. However, 1.5 million tonnes is lost. The project wants to bridge this gap between the nutrient losses in the form of agricultural residues and the nutrient imports in Europe by integrating and demonstrating 6 complementary technologies with high nutrient recovery potential to treat residues from the fruit and vegetable sector. For future information, please visit https://rusticaproject.eu/ very soon.
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