Europe’s leading garlic producer and the largest research center for natural agriculture sign an alliance to maximize sustainability in garlic cultivation
Almería, 22 November 2022. Peregrín’s CEO, Felipe Gómez García, and the CEO of Kimitec’s MAAVi Innovation Center, Félix García Moreno, have recently signed a MAAVi Lab, a strategic collaboration agreement aimed at maximizing sustainability in garlic cultivation by 2030.
“Supermarkets are increasingly calling for a new way to produce food and, to give them what they want, we need natural products offering high efficacy levels without reducing productivity and produce quality. The MAAVi will provide us with those natural solutions, offering the same characteristics as their chemical counterparts”, confirmed Peregrín’s CEO at the signing event.
Specifically, Kimitec’s MAAVi Innovation Center will research and develop solutions adapted to Peregrín’s agronomic needs, for the control of mites and fungi during harvest, fungi and insects during post-harvest, environmental stress reduction, efficient water management and the improvement of seed treatments.
“Our goal is to walk hand-in-hand with Peregrín throughout the transition towards a residue-free food production system over the next few years”, points out Félix García, Kimitec’s CEO.
As a result of the latest European and global strategies and policies restricting the use of chemical-based products in agriculture, the search for natural solutions as effective and cost-efficient as synthetic chemicals has become a priority for numerous companies that need to maintain crop productivity and profitability.
This shift in the food production system, making it healthier, more sustainable and fully aligned with the goals established in the European Green Deal and its Farm to Fork strategy, must necessarily be accompanied by new tools for growers and producers that help them through this new legal scenario, without impacting their economic profitability.
Producers are starting to wonder: Who will look for an answer to their problems? Who will support them in finding the solutions they need? Who can they turn to? That is why the MAAVi Innovation Center created the MAAVi Labs, agreements through which they make their R&D&I capabilities available to all producers, big and small, to help them find real solutions to recurrent agronomic problems, building upon Kimitec’s 15 years of experience in researching natural compounds and the potential offered by the largest biotechnology center in Europe. These strategic alliances are based on an active listening approach and a profound understanding of the challenges faced, and finalize with the development of a product, contrarily to what other research centers offer.
From zero-residue to residue-free production
Based on this agreement, Kimitec’s MAAVi Innovation Center and Peregrín will work together through a 360 Open Innovation model, to go from the current zero-residue system to a real residue-free food production model, replacing the synthetic molecules currently used for pest and disease control with equally effective natural alternatives throughout the entire crop cycle.
“Together, we will change the mindset of both field technicians and growers, so that they finally understand that without MAAVi’s solutions there is no future”, commented Gómez.
The ban on certain active ingredients as a result of Europe’s Farm to Fork strategy makes production considerably more difficult. “They are restricting the use of active ingredients without offering us an alternative. This collaboration with the MAAVi guarantees our survival”, declares Gómez. According to Félix, “the agricultural industry has a huge challenge ahead, and producers are taking two different positions: There are those who actively look for solutions, and those who just wait until someone else finds them”.
In this collaborative framework, Kimitec and Peregrín will join efforts in the lab to bring solutions to the field, customizing as much as possible the resulting bioinputs.
Differentiation through sustainability
For Peregrín, quality is a must in garlic cultivation. “Consumers are slowly learning to appreciate purple garlic, which has no equivalent in the world and offers a texture and a unique set of nutritional and organoleptic properties that go beyond their allicin content”, explains Felipe Gómez.
China is the largest garlic producer in the world and our greatest competitor in the supermarket, although our product is radically different to Chinese garlic. Its color, purple; its thick cloves, and its more intense, spicy flavor make it unique and highly appreciated all over Europe. This high-quality crop is produced by Peregrín at different production sites, and later exported to over 30 countries worldwide.
As explained by Kimitec’s CEO, Félix García, Almería and Spain need to take a leap forward, refrain from selling no matter the cost, and build on differential values that will allow them to achieve a higher profitability, such as natural production, sustainability, quality and a longer post-harvest life. For Félix García, “R&D will be a valuable tool, but there will be others, such as the digitization of agricultural practices and the use of drones”.
The company Peregrín, headquartered in Pulpí, also produces different lettuce varieties and brassicaceae, which are high-production crops extremely appreciated in Northern Europe and the Arab countries. The MAAVi Lab between Kimitec and Peregrín will firstly focus on garlic, but it will soon extend to other agronomic challenges, such as pink-rib, sclerotiorum or tip-burn in lettuce, or post-harvest yellowing in broccoli.
What is a MAAVi Lab?
“These agreements are aimed at large producers who anticipate the imminent change in the agricultural sector and want to be the first to reach zero residue while sustaining or increasing their productivity” explains Félix García, CEO of Kimitec.
A MAAVi Lab is our way to focus on a specific problem in the fields of agriculture, livestock, aquaculture, agro-industry, cosmetics, etc., and establish a collaboration for the development of innovative, sustainable solutions. Aiming to reduce losses, increase production, put our expertise in biotechnology and all the resources available at our research center at the service of the market, achieve zero residues and sustainability in industrial processes, and find natural molecules capable of replacing chemical substances, these strategic projects are led by the MAAVi and targeted at any company committed to change.
A change in the way food is produced, replacing synthetic chemicals with natural solutions: That is Kimitec’s challenge, the reason why we opened our MAAVi Innovation Center, Europe’s largest biotechnology center for natural agriculture, in 2019, and the mission of our team of over 80 scientists and researchers, who work daily with and for any partner willing to align with our vision.
About Kimitec’s MAAVi Innovation Center
Over 15 years ago, Kimitec set out to become the alternative to agricultural products based on synthetic chemistry, putting consumer health, the respect for the environment and natural productivity at the heart of the agricultural production system. Currently, we operate in over 90 countries and have branch offices in the USA, Brazil, LATAM and China, as well as sales offices in Morocco, Hungary, Turkey, Italy, the Baltic countries, Argentina, India, Russia, Australia and France. In 2019, Kimitec opened its MAAVi Innovation Center, Europe’s largest hub focused on biotechnology innovation, with 15 years of experience in researching natural sources for agriculture and the food industry. MAAVi stands for “Making a Vision” and represents a unique way of producing food with natural solutions, without jeopardizing efficacy and productivity, and focusing on the environment and human health. Kimitec has currently over 48 independent research projects in the pipeline, all of them focused on developing natural, effective, productive, residue-free solutions for the main issues facing the farming industry worldwide.