May 28, 2013
BASF announces investments and initiatives in Asia-Pacific
BASF is addressing the challenges of food availability through R&D and new technologies; broadening farmer education initiatives in India and Indonesia; increasing investments in production capacity in Jiangsu, China; as well as collaborating with food value chain partners in Asia-Pacific.
From 2008 to 2012, BASF Crop Protection division's R&D expenditures have grown annually by 7% on average, from â‚¬325 million (US$420.06 million) to â‚¬430 million (US$555.77 million). The company will continue to invest heavily in R&D projects in the future. Over the next few years, BASF also plans to spend on average â‚¬300 million (US$387.72 million) annually on additional production capacities globally for its portfolio of agricultural solutions.
"These investments mean that BASF can continue to support food availability in Asia-Pacific and around the world more broadly," said Markus Heldt, President of BASF's Crop Protection division. "We are specifically investing in research, development and production in Asia-Pacific as part of BASF's globalisation efforts, which will enhance our collaboration with growers in the region."
BASF will build a new formulation and packaging plant for crop protection products in Rudong, Jiangsu, China. The plant is expected to be fully operational in 2014 with an annual capacity of 10,000 tonnes, and will have more than 100 employees.
"The site will cover nearly our entire solution portfolio, which will enable us to respond much more quickly and efficiently to growers' needs in China and Southeast Asia," said Raman Ramachandran, senior vice president of BASF Crop Protection Asia-Pacific.
With the most rapidly increasing population, strong demand growth and continued urbanisation, food production in Asia-Pacific is facing huge challenges. "Food security is back on the global agenda", said Professor Peter Warr, Australian National University College of Asia and the Pacific and guest speaker at the BASF Media Event. "Enhancing food security requires reducing the relative price of food, reducing poverty, and raising productivity through improved agricultural technology."
Warr emphasized that Asia-Pacific has great potential for increased productivity. To reach that goal, research and development activities are needed with results that can be adapted to individual countries and regions.
In many countries across Asia-Pacific, BASF coordinates grower education initiatives, highlighted by the Samruddhi programme in India and field schools in Indonesia. In 2012 alone, nearly 250,000 local growers participated in these initiatives. Participants receive practical advice and assistance throughout the entire growing season. In 2012, Samruddhi soybean farmers achieved an average of 25% more yield and 36% higher net profit compared to non-programme farmers. Similar results were recorded by corn and rice growers as part of farmer field schools in Indonesia.
BASF will expand its globally-successful AgCelence portfolio for plant health in more than 10 additional crops, especially fruits and vegetables, in Asia-Pacific by 2015. Since 2011, BASF has offered the AgCelence portfolio, which provides plants with better stress tolerance, growth performance and vitality, to the Asian market, primarily for soybeans, corn, cotton, and selected fruits and vegetables.
"With AgCelence, farmers can potentially increase marketable yields by 5-10% as well as improve their farming efficiency," said Ramachandran. "It is well-established in India, China, Indonesia and Vietnam and will expand to other markets in the region."
In 2011, BASF entered the field of sustainability measurement and consulting. With the methodology AgBalanceâ„¢, the company helps growers and food suppliers to review their own operations in order to become more sustainable. AgBalance assesses sustainability according to economic, environmental and social criteria. A study with Chinese tomato producer COFCO Tunhe is currently being conducted. The study will measure the sustainability performance of COFCO Tunhe's farms to identify potential improvement strategies, particularly with regard to fertilizer and crop protection use.
BASF began doing business in Asia-Pacific more than a century ago. Today, it is one of the leading chemical companies in the region with a production network of more than 100 sites and operations in 16 countries. BASF aims to grow two percentage points above the Asia-Pacific chemical market through 2020, and in 2012 achieved â‚¬12.5 billion (US$16.14 billion) sales to customers in the region.
Gops Pillay, BASF president of South and East Asia, ASEAN and Australia/New Zealand, said, "Asia-Pacific is facing unprecedented challenges in maintaining natural resources, food and nutrition and quality of life. By collaborating closely with customers, partners and communities in Asia-Pacific, we can address these challenges through chemistry-based solutions."