A case for paulownia in Tunisia
Why Sprinkly Partners

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Sprinkly Partners

Sprinkly Partners is a private company registered in Belgium in 2018. The vision of Sprinkly Partners is to be among the leading paulownia producing companies in North Africa, maximising value creation for shareholders and local communities through technical solutions. The mission of Sprinkly Partners is to create within a six to ten-year period, a solid portfolio of assets in paulownia trees, initially in Tunisia, which would provide opportunities for investors for a significant return on investment.

Introduction

The first fuels used by humans were timber biomass and even nowadays it remains the main energy source for more than half of the world’s population. The biomass in global aspect of energy consumption is evaluated between 11 and 14%. Climate changes and fossil fuel supply insecurity has led to increasing interest and realization of sustainable biomass production systems.

Sprinkly Partners
Sprinkly Partners

Why paulownia?

The calorific value of Paulownia biomass is little over 50% than the one of the coal (as with the rest of the wooden biomass species) but the lower content of pollutants such as sulfur and the fact that Paulownia is a renewable resource clearly points to its environmental benefit.

Paulownia wood has the advantage of lightness and substantially reduces the transportation costs comparative to other woods – at normal conditions it will rapidly air dry to moisture content between 10 and 15%. Open air dried the wood density generally ranges between 260-330 kg/m3 .

By correct cultivation Paulownia is definitely one of the most rapidly growing plants. Paulownia uses highly efficient photosynthesis to include carbon inside its metabolic pathways.

Within a Paulownia plantation soil carbon levels increase from the accumulation of organic matter at the time of defoliation and due to the large root system that has an important function as regards to the carbon reception. Paulownia could be cut from the same root system at least 4 - 5 times consistently improving the soil by its growth, and thus its turning it into a truly sustainable culture compared to other biomass systems.

Paulownia environment

Paulownia environment

Paulownia is capable of adapting, growing and developing in poor soils. It is an ideal tree for improving and reclaiming poor, polluted and endangered soils.

Paulownia grows on soils polluted with heavy metals and harmful substances, where other trees would not survive. Absorbing these substances, it relieves the earth from them. Paulownia helps for remedying the fragile soils, which otherwise would perish and be lost completely.

Rationals

Why to start with paulownia in Tunisia?

  • Financial benefits: subsidies (up to 50% for some equipment) for agricultural investments
  • A number of agricultural lands adapted to paulownia crops are available
  • Quite large water tables can be potentially used for irrigation
  • Close proximity from the European Union
  • The Mediterranean climate is very well adapted for the crop of paulownia
  • This project will be managed in trusted terms by the Sprinkly team with agronomic engineers, specialists in agro-business, project structurers and “fans of figures” knowing about paulownia
  • Very good command of local languages as well as local legislations
  • Extended experience with the different steps with the local administrations
  • The social system is well developed and an ambitious educational policy has been launched. More than 5% of the GDP is allocated to the education system.
  • 54 conventions signed with countries to protect foreign investments.
  • The political transition has been progressive and relativily peacefull (in comparison with Egypt and Lybia for instance), which has allowed the country to create globally positive environment for business.
  • The Tunisian economy can rely on a young, qualified, manpower, with rather low labour costs, very competitive.

The most important: an experienced management team

The Management team of Sprinkly Partners has a proven track record of project delivery and value creation from technically and commercially challenging assets as well as inherent local knowledge from agro business in North Africa. The team comprises Yves Speeckaert, Slim Kechaou, Yousra Abou Messaad, Cédric Biart, Jean-Sébastien Debusschere, Ferdi Renier and other team players with more than 90 years of cumulative experience in the timber and/or the financial sectors businesses delivering top of the class results.