Meet Saint Lucia’s first indigenous biotech company

[Saint Lucia] What can a small-island fertilizer brand teach the world about zero-waste, food security, climate resilience and economic development? Just ask 25-year old Saint Lucian entrepreneur, Johanan Dujon, the founder and managing director of Algas Organics.

Algas Organics’ flagship product, Algas Total Plant Tonic, is a sargassum seaweed-based fertilizer that began retailing in 2015. Dujon developed a proprietary, high efficiency process, which allows for maximum extraction of quality bio-actives and micronutrients from every pound of  Sargassum seaweed.

Given the low cost of raw material acquisition (since it literally floats to the shoreline by the tons) the company says that it is able to charge consumers 15 to 20% less than the competition.

“Essentially we are doing two things,” says Dujon. “We are taking sargassum which is a Caribbean problem and converting it into an organic bio-fertilizer which addresses another problem— the use of toxic chemicals in agriculture.”

Since 2011, a sargassum seaweed crisis has devastated the Caribbean: tainting beaches, killing marine life and limiting the livelihoods of fisher folk due to an increase in fuel and maintenance costs, impeded efficiency and reduced catch. 

Algas Organics has helped to rid Saint Lucia’s beaches of an estimated 300 tons of wet seaweed over the past three years through a zero-waste manufacturing process. The algae is manually removed from the east coast of St Lucia and taken to the world’s first sargassum seaweed processing facility where it is converted into organic compost for the farming industry. 

 

Photo: Algas Organics’ flagship product, Algas Total Plant Tonic, is a sargassum seaweed-based fertiliser that began retailing in 2015. ALGAS ORGANICS

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