World's Largest Water Sustainability Trial - Heliae Development

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Heliae, Agricola Cerro Prieto to Conduct World’s Largest Water Sustainability Trial

Heliae Development, LLC, a leading microbial-based product development company, and Peru-based agriculture group Agricola Cerro Prieto (ACP) today announced the launch of a series of trials designed to increase water retention and improve the sustainability of desert soils at ACP’s farms in Peru. The trial will cover nearly 100 acres, making it the World’s largest water sustainability trial conducted to date.

Agricola Cerro Prieto (ACP)

In a partnership developed by Heliae’s strategic advisor for international business, Afina International, ACP is working with Heliae on the application of its microalgae-based soil amendment product PhycoTerra® to support ACP’s sustainability efforts on its avocado, blueberry, asparagus, and table grape farms throughout Northern Peru.

Explore PhycoTerra Products

“Our sandy soils tend to allow water to percolate and drain rapidly, which is costly and wasteful,” said Alfredo Lira Chirif, General Manager of ACP. “Working with Heliae, we are anticipating improvements that will provide greater solutions to optimize our water use, increase the productive land area and result in a sustainable advantage across all our crops.”

Added Eric Lichtenheld, President and CEO of Heliae, “Testing with ACP allows us to demonstrate improved water sustainability at massive scale. Our shared vision in regenerative agriculture allows for the perfect pairing in efforts of assisting with water sustainability. This trial will assist us in getting more intense knowledge on how we can benefit soil sustainability issues.”

David Godfrey-Thomas, Afina’s CEO added “Solving the food security-climate change mitigation paradox requires exactly the combination of advanced technology, scale and cooperation evidenced by this partnership. We are delighted to provide strategic support to these two innovative companies.”

PhycoTerra® is created from a  Heliae-proprietary strain of microalgae that feeds microbes present in soil, which in turn creates a more complex soil profile that improves water retention in the field, among other demonstrated benefits. Using PhycoTerra® increases water holding capacity at an average of 1,000 gallons per acre (9354 liters per Hectare) as demonstrated in eight of eleven field trials performed in sandier soils, conducted by Heliae over the last three years.

PhycoTerra Soil Health
(PhycoTerra® – Untreated (same weight))


About ACP
ACP is a global sustainable agriculture company farming more than Ha 4,500 in Northern Peru. Its social mission and environmental commitment are core to its operations and success. ACP is part of Corporación Financiera de Inversiones (CFI), which develops investment projects in the energy and agribusiness sectors prioritizing the care of the environment and the relationship with the communities. In addition to ACP’s operations in Chiclayo, Peru they also operate 160 hectares of blueberries in pots on their Santa Rosa farm and are in the process of acquiring additional farms in Colombia to expand ACP’s avocado business along with other crops. Visit for more information on the progress of the World’s Largest Sustainability Trial.


About Heliae Development, LLC
Heliae Development, LLC is a pioneering food and ag-tech company located outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Heliae is focused on researching and developing microalgae for commercial-scale production of products and solutions that can have world-changing impacts on some of the most important challenges facing us today. Heliae® Agriculture is on the path of understanding how a balanced soil microbiome improves plant vigor and marketable yields under stressed conditions, helping growers’ transition to regenerative agriculture practices. Find out more information about how Heliae is having a global impact at


About Afina International
Afina International is a specialist advisory firm headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. Founded in 2011, Afina partners with clients to help develop and execute growth strategies with a focus on sustainable solutions and cross-border applications. For more information, please visit