Technology Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who or what is Bio-Agro Organic Fertilizers?

Bio-Agro Organic Fertilizers are a brand of fish fertilizer that is marketed by NIR Alpha Sdn. Bhd. It is licensed and is a naturally organic fertilizer that is derived from pressed fish emulsion.

2.  How is Bio-Agro Organic Fertilizer made?

Bio-Agro is derived from fish emulsion. Fish emulsion is derived from the process of making animal feed. Raw fish scrap is put through a sterilizer which heats it to 90 degrees Celsius to kill any unwanted bacteria and to make the separation of oils, cake and liquids easier. The cooked fish is then put through a rotary press which separates the cake from the liquids and oils. The liquid and oils are then introduced to a water/oil separator which takes out about 60% of the oils. The 40% of the oils still remains in the liquid which is then rightfully called fish emulsion and is ready for processing into Bio-Agro Organic Fertilizer.

Bio-Agro Organic Fertilizer is produced when the fish emulsion is treated with our proprietary bacteria formulation to digest proteins and other nutrients to a nutrient source that is preferred by plants and soils. Once the bacteria has been given enough time to act on the fish emulsion to derive the best results a small amount of phosphoric acid (~0.05% of total contents) is then added to raise the Ph level of the fish fertilizer to below 4.5. This is to keep the bacteria from further digestion and to aid packaging by cutting out gas production by the bacteria. A masking and deodorizing agent is then mixed into the fish fertilizer before it is passed through a proprietary filter then is bottled by weight and ready for distribution.

3. Where do you get your fish from?

We get the majority of our fish supplies from trawlers working off the coast of Kuching, Sarawak and also from its surrounding areas. We also get our fish supplies from small individual village based fishermen. Although we don’t need the small volume from the individual village based fishermen, we do this to help the local village fisheries industry as part of a company initiative to help local village communities.

4. What are the different classifications of Fish Fertilizer?

There are generally three types of fish fertilizers on the market. Natural Organic fish emulsion (Bio-Agro), amended fish emulsion, and enzymatic fish fertilizer. How natural organic fish emulsion is made has already been described above. Amended fish emulsion is produced the same way, but it has more than 1% synthetic materials, usually urea, added. A good example of this is Atlas Fish Fertilizer, sold only in the USA and Canada. Enzymatic fish fertilizer usually has an N-P-K of somewhere around 2-5-3 (vs. 5-1-1 or 5-2-2 for fish emulsions). A good way to tell which means of manufacturing was used is by referring to the N-P-K balance. Anything other than a range between 5-2-2 to 4-1-1 means the fish fertilizer isn’t made from natural organic fish emulsion. The enzymatic method has fish scraps being placed in a stainless steel vat, and enzymes are added to cause it to deteriorate. Then the remaining stik water has the oil skimmed off, and is reduced down to a 40-50% solid solution. At this point the NPK is about 2-0.5-1.5. Then the same phosphoric acid is added to kill the enzymes before straining and packaging.

The amended fish emulsion is less expensive because any fish solubles can be used, which are less expensive than the higher quality ones required for the production of Bio-Agro Organic Fertilizer. Enzymatic fish fertilizer is very inexpensive to manufacture, has very low shipping costs (since it is usually bottled where it was manufactured), and uses chemical enhancements to raise the NPK. This is why natural organic fertilizers like Bio-Agro Organic Fertilizer hold a higher value and price than other fish fertilizers.

5. You seem to add chemicals to the process, how can you call yourself
    Organic?

Organic certification bodies such as OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) and OAM (Organic Alliance Malaysia) have issued guidelines that state that any organic product which has less than 1% inorganic (non-synthesized) ingredients can still be called naturally organic. The only addition ingredients that aren’t organic are phosphoric acid and a deodorizing agent.

Without the phosphoric acid the bacteria will continue to digest the fish emulsion creating fermented gasses which are both unpleasant smelling and can also cause rupturing and exploding of packaging. The phosphoric acid used is not synthesized and is made by reducing calcium phosphate rock (a natural type of rock) with sulfuric acid (formed from the oxidization of sulfide minerals). We use the same type of phosphoric acid that is used in the manufacture of soft drinks and carbonated consumer products.

The deodorizer that we use is proprietary but its active ingredient (over 90%) is simply activated carbon.

6. Is the process of conversion dirty or environmentally detrimental?

The process of turning raw fish liquid into Bio-Agro Natural Fertilizer is completely clean. The un-deodorized raw fertilizer is slightly smelly (equivalent to the local fish market) but is kept in a well aired area and under a lid to keep exposure to a minimum. The bacteria used for the digestion process is 100% natural and is cultured without any negative affect on the environment.

7. Does the Bio-Agro production facility ever shut down?

Our production facility has a capacity to run 24 hours and is actually designed for that. The work of producing Bio-Agro Organic Fertilizer is relatively simple and only requires human attention in the beginning and end phases of production. Most of the work is done by the bacteria in digesting the fish emulsion.

What determines our work times are the orders that we have to fulfill and the packaging needs of our customers. Currently we are working on an 8 hour shift.

8. Are there any advantages to the community and the world by using Bio-
    Agro Organic Fertilizer?

Our business processes along with every production process is carefully designed to be environmentally friendly and to even return benefit to the environment through the marketing of our Bio-Agro Organic Fertilizer to industries that have been heavy on the use of chemical fertilizers previously. Our process of digesting the fish emulsion has no chemical additives and will only output gasses like methane in very small quantities. We hope that our fertilizers can help to reduce the dependency on chemical fertilizers and to gradually increase the health of agriculture soils and clear up water systems that have been polluted by the use of these chemical fertilizers.

 

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