The RUSTICA project continues its outreach in Valle del Cauca, Colombia, one of the 5 focal regions of this international project

RUSTICA - Cauca Valley


Using a multisectoral approach, this initiative is moving forward in the formation of its multi-stakeholder platform, conceived as a collaborative space for co-creation and knowledge exchange in the regional context. To this end, we count on the participation of agricultural producers, waste generators, fertilizer companies, government entities, and research centers interested to co-create and validate technological solutions and business models to convert agri-food waste into innovative, high-quality bio-based fertilizers that meet the needs of local small farmers and agribusiness. The RUSTICA project will thus contribute to the transition of the Valle del Cauca towards a circular and more climate-friendly rural economy. 

During this first phase, the project has been presented to public and private universities, farmers associations, local and departmental governments, private fertilizer, and waste management companies. The response has been very positive.  

Ongoing agri-food waste valorization initiatives in the region in relevant sectors have been identified, such as the sugar industry, where some sugar mills use the waste from sugar and ethanol production in composting plants and the product is applied to crops. The department's central supply center also transforms fruit and vegetable waste in its own composting plant and is developing a pilot project for the valorization of this waste using the black soldier fly. Local universities are already investigating mainly in anaerobic digestion of local biomass residues. 

The RUSTICA partners are also characterizing different feedstocks that could be valorized for the production of novel bio-based fertilizers. In Valle del Cauca, residues from the processing of major crops such as sugar cane, coffee, cocoa, and coconut were prioritized, as well as fruit and vegetable residues from supermarkets. Easily biodegradable residues such as coffee and cocoa mucilage, vinasse from ethanol production, and supermarket fruit and vegetable residues are being evaluated in the anaerobic digestion platform. More fibrous wastes such as coconut husks and cocoa shells are being tested for biochar production. 

With its important agri-food sector, the presence of key research institutions, and the strong interests among different actors, the Valle del Cauca region has great potential for biobased innovations, which will be supported by the RUSTICA project. The role of each of the local stakeholders is key to support the region. Soon we hope to announce the first multi-actor workshop of the Valle del Cauca regional platform! 


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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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IDConsortium is a consultancy firm founded in Seville, Spain, in 2009 with the aim of helping researchers and businesses to internationalise and showcase their R&D by joining international consortiums to pursue different lines of research, development, and innovation. The firm is an offshoot of IDAction S.L., a company with a wide range of experience in managing R&D, innovation, and investment projects. We help promote clusters and sectorial organizations reach their potential at a national and international level. With our experience and involvement in various international innovation projects, we provide strategic advice in the following areas: Industrial Biotechnology, Advanced production systems in Agriculture, Livestock and Aquaculture based on Industry 4.0., and Innovative systems while promoting an active, healthy, and sustainable aging. Visit www.idconsortium.es/ for more information.