Student startup company from Ibri makes fertiliser from fish waste
Elixir, an Omani startup, has created an organic fertiliser from fish waste and signed an agreement with Industrial Innovation Centre to set up a production unit to begin operations in 2021.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Hussam al Muqbali, one of nine students from the University of Technology and Applied Science – Ibri who started Elixir, said the fertiliser is safe for use and will help Omani farmers increase farm production.
“Our fertiliser is a 100 per cent natural product. Among other advantages, it saves water in production as well as cultivation of crops,” Muqbali said.
“The concept first emerged in 2017 when we participated in Injaz Oman. We wanted to create something that could reduce the use of chemicals and save the environment. We also noticed the interest in the agricultural sector.”
According to Muqbali, their main challenge in developing their product is the fact that they are still students and don’t have a place to work.
“We tried different iterations and conducted several experiments before arriving at the desired results. Another challenge was finding a laboratory to conduct experiments, but we found a partner who provided us with space and equipment.
“We received assistance from the Industrial Innovation Centre, which supported us in developing the product and signed a pact with us to establish a factory in the wilayat of Barka in the beginning of 2021,” Muqbali informed.
Elixir’s fertiliser made from fish waste has won several awards, including first place in the Ministry of Labour’s Innovation Award in 2019, and the second place in the Cairo International Exhibition of Innovation also in 2019.
Muqbali described Elixir as a team of nine students with different talents but all sharing the same passion for their project.
“We want our product to preserve the environment for future generations. We hope to popularise its use, not just in Oman, and reduce reliance on chemical-based products.”