IT'S a household name in other parts of the world and is Australia's biggest exporter of fertiliser, but Yandina-based Nutri-Tech Solutions was largely unknown locally until named Sunshine Coast Business of the Year.
Co-founder and CEO Graeme Sait travels to 30 countries every year, and was unable to attend the gala and collect his award but said the win was a surprise.
"We didn't expect it,” he said. "It's been 24 years and we've become the largest exporter of fertiliser products in Australia but we're sort of unknown on the Coast.
"It was quite heart-warming to be recognised in your own area.”
He said the recognition from the Coast's business community helped his business toward its recent focus on connecting with local farmers through Nutri-Tech Solutions' (NTS) retail outlet.
Mr Sait says NTS doesn't just sell a product, it teaches a philosophy of holistic farming, providing training for farmers in many of the 55 countries it's sold in.
"I discovered late in life I have such an incredible pleasure in teaching,” he said. "I love sharing information.
"To be able to help people with soil health and their own health is just tremendously satisfying.”
Mr Sait says that wherever he goes, people say he changed their lives for the better.
"So many people don't realise, so many of the inputs like glyphosate (sold as Roundup), it's been linked to virtually all diseases we are suffering,” he said.
"Most farmers have no idea, but they're also dropping like flies from cancer and all sorts of things. But vested interestes have seen this chemical sprayed everywhere.”
Mr Sait teaches an holistic approach to farming.
"You have to be a healthy farmer to have a healthy farm ...i t's an unusual concept and nobody's ever done that before. We wrap it all together.”
NTS may not be widely known on the Coast but Graeme Sait is a "national treasure”, third-generation farmer Steve Jeffers said, after attending a week-long NTS workshop in Yandina in mid-November.
"He's like a walking encyclopaedia,” Mr Jeffers said. "Listening to what he's saying is life-changing.”
Mr Jeffers grows persimmons that he sells interstate and exports, and also runs Jeffers Wholefoods in Yandina.
He said he was once a "sceptic”, using conventional farming methods like his peers, but since incorporating biological farming methods had seen a 50% improvement in his crops.
"It's been the difference between losing a whole lot of money and making a modest profit,” Mr Jeffers said.
Twenty-four years after the business was founded, Mr Sait said it was "not a sacrifice” to travel to 30 counties every year. "It's just a great pleasure,” he said.
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