About the Fique Plant
- The Fique plant (Furcrea Macrophylla), also called Cabuya or Maguey is common in Colombia.The Fique has been cultivated primarily for its fibers, used to make bags for coffee and cacao growers.
- Fique plants are often seen along roads, in remote areas and are also used as hedges to stop trespassing.
- There are some 200 known Fique species, of which only a few are suitable for industrial purposes.
- The thorny species described here have the best characteristics for the production of quality fibers as well as good quality juice and bagasse.
- The Fique plant; Cabuya or Uña de Aguila (Eagle Claw) or Borde de Oro(Gold Border)
- The Leaf’s produce organic Fibers, Juice and Bagasse (Pulp).
- The preferred altitude is between 1200m and 1900m.
- Grows similar to “Agave” and requires well drained soils.
- The productive lifetime is from 15 to 20 years.
- Leaf length is between 1.5m and 2.0 m, and a base width of between 8cm to 12cm.
- Up to today only 4% is used for High-Quality Fibers.
- The former waste material (96%) will now be used due to new insights and processing methods.
- Average content, one and a half liter/kilogram of Juice/Bagasse per leaf.
- Yearly harvest 20 leaf’s per Fique plant.
- 2400/3000 Fique plants per hectare depending on the fique specie used.
Fique & Environment
- The traditional harvesting methods used for the Fique plant result in only 4% of the fibers being used, and the remaining elements of the plant considered as waste are rejected and “dumped”!
- This means that about 96% of the Fique plant is currently treated as having no value and is simply thrown away resulting in serious environmental problems due to certain characteristics of elements in the juice and bagasse!
- The Crude Fique juice and bagasse in its raw state cause a chemical reaction when coming into touch with water (aquifers, creeks, rivers) eliminating all oxygen from the water thus killing all aquatic life.
- Native Indian populations use(d) the raw smashed leaf’s to catch fish that will simply go belly up due to the oxygen deficit caused by the chemical reaction of the raw juice/bagasse.
- Traditional Fique cultivation in Colombia is causing serious environmental problems which has been known since many years. Approximately 70,000 small farmers are engaged in the cultivation of the Fique plant in Colombia, so the extent of waste from the unused parts of the plant is enormous (96%): the problem has simply grown during the past decades.
- These problems will only continue to grow due to the very high and increasing demand for Fique fibers, without serious solutions available, until now as developed by EcoFique.
The demand for Fique fibers is more than 2 x times the present capacity available.
The government and various Fique organizations behind this already have plans in place to increase the areal for Fique and are already implementing more areal for Fique Cultivation to increase the capacity with another 20.000 hectares in several departments which is still by far not enough to cover the present demand for Fique fibers.
Fique facts and numbers
The most important elements
- The Fique fibers, juice and bagasse (or pulp) contain many important elementary components and minerals needed for plant growth apart from its natural anti-fungal characteristics which are used by EcoFique.
- Colombia is the main producer worldwide of Fique fibers and continues to have a very high demand for Fique fibers.
The Fique plants’ unique characteristics
- The Fique plants’ characteristics are the basis for our EcoFique R & D activities.
- And – last but not least – opportunities for improvements to the global food supply chain by producing 100% organic fertilizers, fungicides and nematicides.
The facts and numbers after processing
- After our improved defibrating process (resulting in up to 6 % fiber).
- The remaining 94% of the residue from the Fique is split into juice (roughly 65%) and bagasse (roughly 35%).
From juice to natural Organic fertilizer
- The Fique juice is the raw material for our natural Organic Fertilizer.
- mixed with various other aggregates in small percentages such as Aloe Vera
- Fungicide, Nematicide and for the near future our Research & Development staff are developing an Organic Pesticide.
From bagasse to liquid spray and powder
- We filter the bagasse (Cellulose & Solids) into a fine sprayable dried powder to make fungicides and nematicides.
- The Fique plant’s characteristic and specific elements are now transformed into 100% organic fertilizers, fungicides and nematicides!