Dr. Willard’s® mission has always been to improve the health and lives of our customers. We are excited to announce that our new goal is to help small shareholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa increase their agricultural yield. By using PlantCatalyst®, which is government-approved and specifically made to use on plants, we aim to help farmers in third world countries get out of poverty by growing more crops!
Barriers to Conventional Farming in Sub-Saharan Africa
The main way to make a living in developing countries is to farm; however current farming practices in Sub-Saharan Africa are not sustainable, as droughts and the depleted nutrient content of the soil have led to a huge decrease in crops for farmers. The main issue is that these farmers use nitrogen-based fertilizers, which have many serious and adverse consequences. While at first these fertilizers increase crop yield, if used in excess, they strip the soil of nutrients, which leads to the crops containing less vitamins and nutrients than their predecessors.
In addition to these health concerns, nitrogen-based fertilizer runoff is dangerous for our environment since it pollutes groundwater and other drinking supplies. Excess amounts of synthetic nitrogen “causes a loss of certain plant species, depletion of soil nutrients, death of fish and aquatic organisms, and contamination of drinking water,” states SFGate.com.
Furthermore, using nitrogen-based fertilizers is unsustainable as larger and larger amounts are needed with each growing season, which many farmers simply cannot afford as they live on the poverty line.
How Can PlantCatalyst® Help Sub-Saharan Farmers?
PlantCatalyst®, when used in existing farming practices, such as in backpack sprayers, can reduce the use of fertilizers by as much as 50 percent without sacrificing, and, in many cases, increasing, yield. Additionally, our product is made with all natural ingredients and is non-toxic, which is good news for the crops, sea life and our environment! Adding just a small amount of PlantCatalyst® with half the regular amount of fertilizer can play a big role in providing farmers with savings on fertilizer use, as well a larger and more nutritious crop yield!
How is Dr. Willard’s Helping in Sub-Saharan Africa?
In addition to the feedback from clients around the world, who have attested to how PlantCatalyst’s® increased their plant yield without sacrificing quality, we have spent the last five years researching the effects of our product. The results of a just-completed study by South Dakota State’s Biologist, R. Neil Reece, which demonstrated the formula’s positive effect on seed germination and overall plant growth, inspired us to test our product in Zambia and Mozambique through the help of international non profit organizations.
Our CEO, John Willard III, the grandson of the original inventor of Willard Water®, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology chemistry professor Dr. John W. Willard, is determined to use his grandfather’s legacy to help the world!
“If the legacy he leaves is that he’s increasing profitability for farmers, helping them get out of poverty, maybe feeding the world a little bit, it’ll be a hell of a legacy,” said Willard in an interview with Rapid City Journal.
Willard and his partner, international business development consultant, Joe Miklosi of Denver, spent two weeks this June setting up research projects in central and western Africa. Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA) and the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI) will test the effects of PlantCatalyst® on crops in small cooperative farms. Researchers from ZARI will perform trials on red onions, tomatoes, maize and lettuce, while The ACDI/ VOCA will conduct trials on maize (corn) and soybeans.
PlantCatalyst® will be tried in greenhouse germination and also in private seed companies on a small irrigated farm and a larger commercial operation that grows piri piri peppers.
The trials are projected to start in November or December of this year; results should take about a year to come in.