ISQ is developing in partnership with EDIA the URSA project – Alqueva By-Product Recirculation Units – with the implementation of an experimental unit in herdade da Adobada, located in the Municipality of Serpa, in the Baixo Alentejo region, is ongoing. The URSA project consists of the implementation of an innovative and disruptive business model, based on the exchange of agricultural by-products by organic fertilizer for agronomic use by farmers, materializing the circular economy in the agricultural context, with direct and indirect environmental benefits. "For every ton of by-products that the URSA project values, 100 kg of mineral fertilizers (10 kg of nitrogen), 100 m3 of natural gas, 28670 litres of water and 750kg of CO2 will be saved. They will also be produced another 100kg of olive or 200 kg of corn", explains Cristina Ascenço, ISQ project manager. This project presents a structure based on the efficient use of resources, namely the protection of soil and water, and the recovery of waste/by-products, contributing to accelerate the transition to the circular economy, through agriculture in line with the principles of this new paradigm. It is intended to create a constellation of units of valuation of by-products by composting, which produce an organic fertilizer, delivered to farmers in exchange for their agricultural by-products, for application in their crops, contributing to the increase of soil fertility and its rehabilitation as a filter barrier. In this way, water quality and water ing sustainability are promoted. "This solution will contribute to closer collaboration with farmers, as the delivery of organic by-products for composting is dependent on their project support. In this sense, it provides for the establishment of ways to strengthen this accession, either through direct support for the collection of by-products, either by supplying organic compost or by reducing some production costs associated with reducing the environmental and water footprint", stresses Cristina Ascenço. URSA was approved by the Portuguese Environmental Fund in its "Support the Transition to a Circular Economy" programme and aims to create a set of collection, treatment and processing units of agricultural by-products into organic corrective for soil application. These units intend to return to the soil the nutrients that are removed through agriculture, thus reducing the needs of fertilization, which allows to increase the profitability of crops, while enhancing the improvement of the soil and its filtering functions. This contributes to an improvement in the quality of the water used by the Alqueva Multi-Purpose Enterprise.
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