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Enormous untapped potential in Africa - BASF
26
Mar '10
BASF's Crop Protection division opened the first in a series of new offices in Africa, part of plans to triple sales on the continent within the next four years. The growth plans are based on a two-pronged strategy that centers around offering technical support and expertise to farmers and other agricultural professionals locally.

“In Africa, there are some professional growers with large operations and state-of-the art agronomic expertise as well as many small and mid-sized farmers working hard to move beyond subsistence farming,” said Gabor Mehn, in charge of BASF's Crop Protection business in Africa and the Middle East. “We need to work locally to serve both of these groups with tailored products and agronomic services. That's why we are building up local sales teams that can offer agronomic support tailored to their markets.”

This will be a challenge, but BASF is convinced that it is worth the effort. Although Africa has twice the agricultural area as Europe, it is farming 80 million hectares less than its neighbor to the North, according to FAO statistics.

Promoting sustainable agriculture through local services

Large, export-oriented farming operations will profit from BASF's portfolio of modern products as well as its global network of experts who understand the requirements of authorities and consumers in foreign markets.

Smallholder farmers looking to sell part of their surplus harvests, on the other hand, are eager to improve their farming practices and adopt modern technologies. To support these growers, BASF will provide agronomic advice and services as well as safe use training. “By putting growers and their needs at the center of all our activities, we will be able to grow with our customers in Africa,” says Gabor Mehn on the occasion of the office opening in Kenya. “As we have demonstrated in India, farmers are highly motivated when they see the benefits of modern crop protection as part of an overall farm management system increasing their income and contributing to their health and prosperity.”

In 2010 further office openings are planned in the Ivory Coast, Mali and Zambia. Until 2013 BASF will increase its presence on the continent with additional six offices.

In East Africa, BASF will focus on key vegetable crops such as green beans, tomatoes and green peas as well as ornamentals and cereals. As part of its growth strategy for Africa, the company plans to extend and enhance its services to additional countries and farmers across important crops such as cocoa, cotton, sugarcane, maize, specialty crops, sunflowers, coffee and rice.

BASF Corporation

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