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In 1983, Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem and a team from the Laboratory of Plant Morphology, Systematics and Ecology at the University of Ghent (Belgium) started a research program to grow plants in the Sahel region of Africa using less water.
In a first phase they developed a screening method to study the influence of a wide variety of materials (cocoa husks, compost, hydroabsorbent polymers, peat, vermiculite, zeolite, coir fibre, inorganic and organic fertilisers, proteins, starches, etc...) on plant growth, singularly and in combinations. The team from Ghent found that by mixing certain hydroabsorbent, nutritive and root growth stimulating components together, that a superior soil conditioning compound was attained which produced dramatic and swift results. The Laboratory Plant Morphology, Systematics and Ecology was able to conclusively demonstrate that certain materials complement each other in a synergetic manner and provide soil conditioning benefits whose collective effect is better than the effect of their individual parts. The research effort led by Prof. W. Van Cotthem resulted in the TerraCottem soil conditioner, a mixture of more than twenty components that work in synergy to improve growing conditions and plant growth.
Ten years of testing, both in the laboratory and in the field, were completed before the soil conditioning technology was made available commercially on an international scale.
The TerraCottem company was born out of a meeting between Professor Van Cotthem, and Bernard Devos, a Belgian industrialist drawn by the technology’s immense potential from a business, environmental and humanitarian point of view. TerraCottem was in need of a marketing strategy and international distribution network and Bernard Devos was keen to invest. The company was established in 1993 and quickly built a distribution network in over 40 countries worldwide with export currently representing 75% of its global turnover. Fifteen years into the business, the company went from a single product to a range of TerraCottem soil conditioners, all based on the TerraCottem principle.
In 2013 the company was restructured with a capital increase and consolidation of the financial situation.
Three years later, Carol Devos, Bernard Devos' eldest daughter, in charge of our international sales office in Spain, also took over the position of general manager of our manufacturing company. In 2019 we moved the factory in Belgium to a larger facility owing to increased national and international demand for our soil conditioners.
TerraCottem primarily supplies the landscaping, reforestation, horticulture and sports turf industry and now also wants to reach the retail market through online sales.
In 2018, we celebrated our 25th anniversary with the publication of 25 customer stories to mark the breadth and depth of the product’s usage throughout the world over the past quarter of a century.
Our values influence everything we do: from the soil conditioners we manufacture to the conversations we have with our partners, clients and prospects.
Providing soil conditioning solutions to individuals, organisations and professionals who are committed to creating more fertile soil and a greener planet as part of the solution to the challenges presented by climate change.