A FIRM specialising in water storing technology is sowing the seeds for export growth as it looks to help solve drought-stricken Third World countries.
Chester-le-Street- based Agricultural Polymers International is looking to roll out its range of water storing granules and other polymer products across India and Africa so that crops can be successfully grown in some of the driest parts of the world.
The firm, which employs five people, pioneered the development of super-absorbent water storing polymers in horticulture and has been supplying customers for more than 25 years.
In the past three years, with the support of UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) Gateway to Global Growth initiative and the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) it has secured a host of new business in overseas markets including Palestine, Indonesia, South Africa and Abu Dhabi.
According to its director, Paul Griffin, the company has now set its sights on Mauritius and India.
He said: “We’re now looking at commissioning an OMIS report for India to help identify key contacts in both the private sector and local government.
“Our product gives people the ability to grow crops with the supply of water that’s already there. Aid agencies and governments are putting in wells but it’s pointless if the quantity of water isn’t there in the first place. Our product lasts 15 years in the soil and you can grow crops on the most minimal of water supplies. This would prove revolutionary for drought-stricken countries and would be a worthwhile investment. We sell our product at the minimum possible costs because we want it to be affordable for the people who need it most.
“We currently supply to about 18 countries but this year’s been pretty bad on a UK level because of the wet weather. Instead of recognising the environmental and flood-prevention benefits of our product, local authorities have assumed that they don’t need this technology to save water. It’s about educating potential clients, both home and abroad, about the diverse benefits of this technology and that is where the support we’ve had from UKTI has really helped.”
The firm was also recently presented with a ‘Green Hero’ environment award at the Houses of Parliament.
Chris Simpson, one of UKTI’s trade advisers, said: “Agricultural Polymers International is a world leader in the development of water storing polymers which have many uses, not just horticulture.
“We’re delighted to have been able to support the company in its growth, helping identify and access a string of new markets.
“Its success has proved once again that the North East has what it takes to compete on the world stage and I hope it will inspire others to follow in its footsteps and take up the export for growth challenge.”