23 May 2018
Tunis, Tunisia
Organic Food and Agriculture

Yassine Ben Menadi, biotechnology engineer and fervent opposer of the status quo, entered the SwitchMed programme in a conscious effort to acquire the tools to produce a radical shift in today’s agricultural model through his Tunisia-based company. He aims to replace current harmful farming products with eco-friendly alternatives.

“The SwitchMed training workshop allowed me to better understand the green business approach which matches perfectly with my principles regarding the environment. Moreover, what motivates my engagement is the ever growing need of farmers and consumers alike to change our agricultural model”, says Ben Menadi, Founder of BioIntrants Technologie, who is working to provide innovative solutions to implement better performing and more sustainable agriculture practices on a big scale.

The current techniques rely heavily on chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and not enough on reusing agricultural waste. As a result, there is an increase in nitrate-contamination of soils, an over-exploitation of water resources, and products are saturated with pesticides to which parasites are increasingly resistant. The pressure exerted by high demands lead to short-term solutions, with often disastrous lasting effects on the environment and the local communities. Ben Menadi is conscious of the efforts required to switch from conventional agriculture to more earth-friendly methods, especially since people’s livelihoods and consumers’ safety is at stake.

“Give me a safe alternative [to our current agricultural model], and I will gladly make the change, said a farmer to me once. Since that day, my goal is to satisfy that need,” Ben Menadi adds.

This encounter had a high impact on Ben Menadi and prompted him to look for safer alternatives. Specialized in solid-medium fermentation at the Research Institute for Development in Marseille, he quickly understood that in order to achieve sustainable food production, farming systems must be completely re-thought. Taking a leaf out of the book on traditional agriculture, where everything is reused and no waste discarded, the products he designed for BioIntrants Technologies all derive from biological compost: organic soil amendments, biofertilizers, biostimulants, and biopesticides. The last one differs significantly from its chemical counterpart in that it contains microorganisms, rather than having a chemical active composition, which naturally helps protect soil and crops.

The underlying principle of these “new” products is simple and derives from ancient farming practices: provide a balanced environment, where agricultural production is a cycle that nourishes the soil, which in turn nourishes the crops, and in turn cleans the air and returns to the earth, thus creating a perfect eco-system.

“Our goal is above all to create a business of knowledge, awareness and accompaniment which helps the transition towards a sustainable agriculture,” Ben Menadi says.

 

 

This article was originally published on the SwitchMed website.

BioIntrants Technologies Organic Food & Agriculture
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