Asia, Soysoap Farmers grew from 0 to over 2000 rice paddy farmers in just 6 months!
2005. My quest started after my retirement from one of the Top 5 Agri-Chem. companies in the world. I was the country manager, and I had worked primarily in the field of rice. I had 20+ years of experience, and seen all the problems of rice, diseases, production and farmer safety. So I was still looking for a better way to just safely grow rice.
My experience started with an internet search, and I read about a person that had this agricultural product from the USA. It hadn't been developed by the traditional agri-chem sources, but actually from a person that had no experience in agriculture, biology, Agrophysics or chemistry, and he had no market to protect, so he was just trying to do some good. I remember telling him he was way outside the box. He said "I only work outside the box, as I never went to college!"
The product had multiple benefits, I was looking for: worker safety, pest control, increased growth, as well as, safety for environment's air, water, soil, animals, birds and people. It was US state department of environmental protection certified safe for water and soil remediation. It also was approved by the State of California AQMD as safe for the Air having just .6 VOC's and no GWC, ODC or VOHAP's. Here was a product that was made of US GOV FDA food additives, or just food!
The product had been agriculturally tested by several USA Agriculture universities: University of Florida, University of Georgia, Rutgers University, University of Miami, University of Massachusetts, University of Arizona, University of Tennessee, Oregon State University, University of Guelph, Texas A&M University, Auburn University, Penn State University, North Carolina State University, and University of Kentucky, as well as hundreds of private individuals and farmers giving their non scientific testimonials. Plus International agricultural universities, University of Madras, Shanxi Agriculture University, Botanical gardens in Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand and Vietnam, Florida and Maryland state environmental agencies as well. So I talked to the developer of the product and he shared enough evidence and university work that I was at least willing to test the product.
So far the product appeared to be what I was looking for, but before I founded a company, and staked a very large investment on this product, I had to test the product. After a six month period of testing, I had determined that it worked, and that the fastest route to market was to sell the product as a plant tonic, vitamin, peptide or hormone. Although it controlled pests, the path of pesticide approval could take months, and the product had worked so well increasing rice production ,it was decided, that was gonna be the company niche for the 1st year.
2006. We opened our doors February 1st, 2006 and received our set of product. What I remember was going to one of my customers, and asking her to "just try the product". She wasn't really very keen on being first, but agreed as her crop was just in its 1st week of growth. But she limited the trail to only 25 square meters of her 4 hectares. We did the same at 6 other locations spread around the country. We got the same cooperation as the farmers are very slow to change, and they had a product that was working. Well it didn't take long, and in less than a week all 6 farmers called us back and said their fields were greener, healthier, and just looked better. We had gone from farmers giving us just a few square meters to allowing us to have the entire 4 hectares sprayed immediately, as they could see something very good happening. Over time, other farmers close to the first farms noticed the advantages these farmers had. Their rice plants were growing larger, root balls were larger, the fields where greener, and than it really got crazy, when the treated fields flowered, and started to bare rice weeks before the other farmers. Some farmers had waited and watched, but when they saw this, even though they were ¾ of the way into the crop, they sprayed the crops over the last 20 days of the crop growing and got great results. Within 90 days, we had grown to 100 farmers. Over the next growing season the farmers told the other farmers, and after just two growing seasons we have passed the 1000 rice paddy farmer levels. We are a long way from signing up the millions of rice farmers in our country, but we feel we now have a good foundation.
In summary, the benefits to the farmers are 25% more money because of more crop production, First to Market, No yield loss, Bank loans paid back sooner, Crop harvested in 20 less days. Some farmers feel with the reduced growing time they can get 3 crops a year instead of 2. If 3 crops are possible farmers could see a 75% increase in annual revenue!