Here in México, in the state of Zacatecas, we have a ranch where we grow our raw material: cactus. At the ranch we select and cut only the mature leaves of the plant without damaging the cactus itself, so every 6-8 months we will a new harvest. Also, we do not use an irrigation system for the cactus, it grows with rain water and the earth minerals which are rich in Zacatecas and great for the variety of cactus that we plant. The selected cactus is very resilient and strong, it can handle low temperatures during winter without dying and its thorns are very small so it’s easier and safer for our agriculture team to harvest.
The cactus plantation is perennial, meaning that we only plant one time and the plantation last for about 8 years, different from other C3 plantations such as corn which has to be cultivated, harvested and then cultivated again annually. The cactus species we cultivate is native and typical of the region, it is a CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism) plant, it's metabolism protects water and it doesn’t operate during daytime generating chlorophyll as most plants do. Cactus absorbs CO2 during night because only when the environment is fresh the plant opens it's stoma capturing CO2, generating oxygen and absorbing water present in the atmosphere which normally comes from the morning dew. C3 plants have a chlorophyll metabolism, these C3 plants need on average 1,000 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of dry matter/material while cactus (CAM) only needs 200 liters, however these 200 liters are absorbed by the plant itself through its natural hygroscopic mechanism.
At the farm, we haven’t cut down any trees, opposite to that, as we plant a native cactus from the region the plantations match biodiversity and blends with wild flora. Being our plantation fully organic there is no harm to the biodiversity, also, our natural techniques stimulate the micro-flora and micro-fauna in the ground which is maintained without damage and wild fauna like hawks find a favorable environment with aliment.
Within the ranch, after cutting the mature leaves, we dry them under the sun for three days until achieving the exact humidity levels that we seek. So, there’s no additional energy used in this drying process. Then we process the organic raw material to make it part of our patented formula which allows us to make DESSERTO. Please note that the ranch is fully organic, so there are no herbicides nor pesticides used. All the remaining organic cactus material not used in our process is exported and sold nationally in the food industry.
The top 10 sustainable facts of Desserto’s organic cactus feedstock:
1. Biodiversity amelioration in the region.
2. Reverts Land Use Change (LUC).
3. Enrichment of soil micro-flora and micro-fauna through native and typical organic cactus afforestation.
4. Huge savings in water as no irrigation is applied.
5. Environmental preservation as no chemicals are used like herbicides or pesticides.
6. Cactus is left unharmed to enable repeated harvesting from the same plant.
7. Energy savings by drying the feed-stock in a solarium.
8. No cross-industry conflict as the byproduct is directed to the food industry in an increased value form which is more attractive, and stimulates the agricultural sector to plant more cactus.
9. Full vision and traceability of the farm to ensure sustainable social practices.
10. Technological enhancements at the fields.
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