With the support of technology and an entrepreneurial vision, Abonotec S.A. The market opens with the processing of the excrement of horses from the Presidente Remón Racetrack to convert it into organic fertilizer.
In October 2005, Codere, a Spanish company in the gaming sector, became the new concessionaire of the Presidente Remón Racetrack, in Panama City, one of the most important in the region. Codere also implemented in Panama the business model called racino, which combines horse racing with gaming terminals.
«We knew about the ecological problems that could be caused by the disposal of guano (horse excrement), for this reason we began to be interested in caring for the environment,» said Carlos Salazar, general manager of the Presidente Remón Racetrack. For that period, as the place developed, the idea of the reprocessing of horse guano came up, an organic fertilizer that ensures a correct feeding and nutrition of the plants.
The great fertilizing power of guano is due to its high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, two of the basic chemical elements for the metabolism of plants, so it is a high quality ecological fertilizer for all treatments of indoor crops or outside, both for domestic and agricultural uses. Depending on its origin there are different classes, which can be found in a fresh, semi-fossilized or fossilized state.
To meet this need and in turn the opportunity in the market, Abonotec, S.A. the first Panamanian company to produce and distribute industrial products specialized in intelligent vegetable nutrition for gardening and agriculture. Its product line is characterized by its formula and organic and mineral components, friendly to the environment.
The company has an adequate production plant with high technical and quality levels that allow it to respond with solvency to sales volumes and international standards. It has an important strategic alliance with the Colombian company Agrotecnia LTDA, a specialist in vegetable nutrition. The technical collaborators of the company, who offer support and knowledge, are composed of chemists, agronomists and agroindustrial engineers.
Starting the project was not an easy task. «If you can add 300 tons per month, there is a basis for an industrial project. Currently we have nine years working with the racecourse, but in the first three years practically nothing was produced, it was simply an expense, «said Gustavo Chelew, director and Co Founder of Abonotec S.A. His life has revolved around the equestrian and the numbers prove it. He has been owner and horse trainer for 37 years, which makes him a connoisseur of the entire chain that involves the horse industry.
«With this project we are helping agriculture and in turn cleaning the racetrack from the feces. It is a product that can be exportable but the domestic market absorbs it, because they are around 3,600 tons per year that we will generate when we reach the top, «said Chelew. He explained that a horse can get to throw away 18 pounds of guano daily. Having around 100 horses at the racecourse, a total of approximately 18,000 pounds per day would be generated, which would be a considerable amount for production per month.
«In the horse’s bed this urine and generates urea. That chip is soaked in urea plus what the horse bostes. The animal has a highly specialized type of food with proteins, vitamins, and so on. That waste, plus the leftovers left in the jar when the animal eats, is the richest base that is generated to make organic fertilizer. In addition, it is a base that has been handled by the animal in its digestive tract and that is adding other condiments that make it especially valuable, «added Chelew.
Step by Step. Every day, the obligation of the employees of the company is to clean the guards of the racecourse where the sacks are deposited with the guano. Currently, there are 120 guards at the racecourse. Next, the guano is taken to the plant where it is composted or dried naturally in a greenhouse species. Compost or compost is a product obtained from different materials of organic origin (sewage sludge, manure, organic fraction of solid waste, agricultural waste and others), which are subjected to a controlled biological process of fermentation called composting.