Biodegradable products open new market

DURBAN – Innovation is a wonderful thing. A case in point would be the dinky biodegradable miniature pots with fresh herbs offered by Checkers stores nationwide last year as a shopping incentive.

Consumers loved them, and millions were taken home to adorn windowsills and kitchens.

The very clever little containers are called Jiffy-Pots and the substrate pellets filling them are Jiffy Pellets. Jiffy is headquartered in Norway, and represented in this country and sub-Saharan Africa by Camel Thorn Horticulture (Pty) Ltd, which imports, exports and distributes a range of horticultural products.

Jiffy manufactures all sorts of clever things, specifically coco peat and peat growing mediums, as well as coco peat and peat products like seedling pellets, grow bags, grow blocks, biodegradable pots and pot strips and seedling trays.

“Our coco peat products are imported from Sri Lanka, and the peat products from ­Canada and Europe usually through Jiffy’s central warehouse in Denmark,” said Jules Kieser, the director of Camel Thorn Horticulture.

While he is Joburg based, there is an additional office and warehouse in KwaZulu-Natal (Hillcrest), as well as in George in the Western Cape.

The Jiffy-Pots, like those given away by Checkers, were a winner, Kieser said.

110307457 - Biodegradable products open new market
Some of the biodegradable Jiffy-Pots.

“Roots grow through the pot wall naturally and are air-pruned, stimulating stronger, more fibrous root development than in plastic pots.

“You don’t need to ‘de-pot’, which really affects a grower’s labour savings.”

The growing period was normally reduced by several weeks, compared with plants grown in plastic pots.

“There are no recycling or disposal costs either, and another bonus is that the pot wall retains moisture, reducing water consumption by up to 20%.”

Kieser said SA clients using Jiffy products comprise three groups: large-scale intensive farmers, wholesale nurseries, people growing at home or in small hydroponic systems, and retailers.

THE MERCURY 

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