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New seed treating method - hydrostimulation - for higher crop yields in water deprived regions

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Pewas AQS (New seed treating method - hydrostimulation - for higher crop yields in water deprived regions)

Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2018-04-30

PEWAS Aquaholder™ Seed+ concept of hydrostimulating seed treatment (later “AQS”) was developed as a response to a serious problem of drought in agriculture. It is a unique seed coating method for higher seed emergence and crop yields in water deprived regions. AQS uses a superabsorbing polymer (later „SP“) which has a great ability to absorb into its structures 200-500 times of water to own weight and release the captured water gradually in times of drought.
As a result, crops treated with AQS have more moisture available to support the process of germination and the first phase of growth. Based on preliminary experiments and field tests following results have been achieved for AQS treated seeds: a) higher hectare yields by 10-15% b) higher seed emergence by 30-50% c) lower water demand by 30-40% in the first stage of seed growth. The innovativeness of AQS concept consists of a formula of AQS and seed treating procedure performed directly in existing coating facilities of seed companies.
Changing climate conditions cause that the demand for solutions tackling the drought issue is growing. Based on the OECD’s report from 2016, 60% of the global population will face water issues by 2050 and up to 50% yield lost is estimated by the same year in some African countries. That is why the potential of AQS concept is significant and global. Just for the targeted market in Europe, the market potential for 2 main crops reaches €mil 118. The ambition of AQS concept for the future is to become a standard for seeds used in arid and semi-arid regions. Target customer for AQS concept is the seed treating company around the globe producing and distributing treated seeds to dry regions. Final user for AQS treated seeds is a farmer located in hyper arid to semi-arid regions around the world. We believe that AQS concept has a great potential to participate in fighting against negative impact of drought on agriculture.
The key content of phase 1 was to verify attractiveness and applicability of our solution for professional agricultural society. We analyzed the intensity of current climate change, its impacts on agriculture, and identified the greatest pain and needs of farmers. We have also analyzed the seed market, its size, growth, trends, the most developed seed areas of the world, focusing especially on the situation within the EU. We have verified the uniqueness of our solution with other competing products. A competitive analysis contains also a selection of companies that have the greatest potential to be our future competitors. The information we obtained was used to quantify the overall market potential and possible market share for our solution. As part of the feasibility study, we have also selected the most appropriate business models in terms of market characteristics and our solution, and have identified the most appropriate way how to commercialize the product.

The following activities were performed within the phase1:
Verification of attractiveness, technical and commercial feasibility
- main challenge, fears, pains, needs and wants of target group
- attractiveness of our solution, main advantages, uniqueness
- competition analysis – product competition, main competitors, important news
- practical feasibility
- technological feasibility, technological uniqueness, differences to competitor´s solutions
- financial feasibility, financial advantages

Mapping market potential
- market description, trends, value, characteristics
- potential market for our solution, selection of the most suitable crops
- market share

Design and production capacities for scale up
- production capacity scale up, production lines
- product scalability, possible improvements of product

Completion of business plan
- road to market – sequence of steps, selection of crops, partners, regions
- business models
- definition of shareholders, subcontractors and their roles in road to commercialization

Results of phase1 confirmed the attractiveness of the hydrostimulating seed treatment among the professionals. Based on the information collected during this period, we defined sequence of activities needed to done on our way to the market.
Expected result of the project is successful start of commercialization phase. As a progress reached in phase 1 we consider verification of market potential and confirmation of uniqueness and attractiveness of our solution for customers and final users. Within the phase 1 we confirmed technological, practical as well as financial feasibility of our innovation.

The expected result of AQS project for the future is to become a standard in seeds used in arid and semi-arid regions on various crop types, as is the treatment of seeds by pesticides and fungicides practiced at present. AQS would be one such an ingredience that goes into seed treating process.

Potential impact relates to its main purpose - to support the development of agricultural crops in the early stages of growth, especially in soils with reduced ability to retain moisture (e.g. sandy soil) or in dry climatic conditions (regions or periods). By the better water management for the seeds in the stage of germination, AQS mitigate negative climatic impacts. It results to healthier plants, their higher resistance to pests and potentially higher yield. Better agricultural production is the main socio-economic impact of our project.
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