WINNING: Graeme Sait, Nutri-Tech Solutions CEO and retail manager Sally Hookey are fixing the world's soils, one farm at a time.
WINNING: Graeme Sait, Nutri-Tech Solutions CEO and retail manager Sally Hookey are fixing the world's soils, one farm at a time. John McCutcheon

The Coast firm that's changing global food supply

HE'S based in the small, quiet town of Yandina but Graeme Sait's farmer training business is having a global effect.

Now used in 55 countries and backed by food giants such as Woolworths South Africa, Nutri-Tech Solutions trains farmers to keep nutrition in their soils.

Nutri-Tech Solutions (NTS) shows farmers how to achieve better growth while reducing chemical use, restoring and enhancing the productive capacity of their soils, he said.

"It's different to organics, because organics is all about what you can't do," Mr Sait said.

The result was better tasting produce, which was one reason food giants were catching on, Mr Sait said.

"Nutritional farming is about all those things you need to do to make that wonderful food," he said.

His company takes two years to train its Woolworths South Africa clients, under a program known as "farming for the future", Mr Sait said. Last year 96 farms were in the program, Woolworths South Africa's website states.

Dole Food Company, reportedly the largest food and vegetable company in the world, have also become NTS distributors and spent a "small fortune" registering 46 NTS products for sale in the US, Mr Sait said.

"We're in India, the UK, Holland (The Netherlands), France, and Korea is a big market," he said.

The largest market, he said, is Iran because an Iranian doctor who did a four-day course with NTS then became a passionate ambassador, spending three years registering and promoting NTS products.

Local partners such as this were in each country and were key to NTS' success, Mr Sait said.

Mr Sait said conventional farming used a chemical extraction model that took what plants needed from soils but ignored the relationship between minerals, microbes and humus (the organic matter in soil).

"Consequently we've got soils that are a shadow of what they used to be, and to grow a crop we have to use more and more chemicals," he said.

"People would be shocked if they knew how many chemicals we use.

"Many vegetable growers won't eat the produce they grow themselves, because of the chemicals."

Around the world, commercial food growers have their own small market garden, he said, from which they harvest food for their own families.

Mr Sait said realisation of the real, damaging effects of climate change had seen a "global awakening" happening which involved all levels of society and was evidenced by the ever-increasing demand for his visits and presentations.

"I'm meeting now at a ministerial level in most countries," he said. "The agriculture department in Brazil, ministers at Holland, Vietnam and Laos, a minister at India.

"There's a real awakening happening because people are recognising the link between healthy soils and climate change."

In order to seize the opportunity this presents, he has travelled to 33 countries in the last year alone, making presentations and building relationships.

"That's why I travel so much," he said. "It's a mission to recognise that we're in really serious trouble with global warming.

"Every country we travel to is hurting on a big scale that we're not hearing about."

Restoring soils and stopping their degradation can halt climate change, he said, because a huge amount of greenhouse gas emission comes from loss of humus in the soil.

NTS recently hired award-winning Hinterland Feijoas owner and former APN employee Sally Hookey, who joined the company in June.

"It's a bit sad to be leaving APN after 13 years, but this one just seemed perfect for me... I get to talk to farmers all day long and they do fantastic courses in Biological Farming all around the world," Ms Hookey said.

She did a course with NTS in 2009 and used the techniques at her Belli Park feijoa farm.

"When we bought our first trees, we lost two thirds of the first crop using traditional advice," she said.

Fertilising with nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous killed her trees, she said.

"It was very expensive. It cost 100 trees at $25 a pop and a lot of hours."

Ms Hookey was "delighted" to be working with Mr Sait and NTS, she said.

"I've come full circle," she said. "For me it's aligning what I really believe in ...the real life farming activity with being able to share that with other farmers."

Visit NTS at

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