As the world´s leading chemical company, BASF possesses about 380 production bases worldwide, more than 30 of which located in China. Agriculture solutions is one of BASF’s five business segments worldwide and its core business division, Crop Protection, achieved sales of about €4.7 billion in 2012, ranking No. 3 of global agrochemical companies.
|The photo shows a tomato grower in Guangxi, China. BASF provides crop protection solutions to local farmers based on their needs.
In October 2013, BASF raised its sales expectation of Crop Protection division to €8 billion by 2020. To approach this target, the company plans to invest approximately €1.8 billion to build and upgrade production and formulation facilities during 2013 to 2017.
As an emerging agrochemical market with its rapid growth and huge potential, China is undeniably becoming one of the major markets of BASF. AgroPages conducted an interview with Dr. Florian Thomas, Senior Project Manager, BASF Crop Protection Asia Pacific, on BASF’s development strategy of crop protection business in China.
As known to all, BASF will launch a formulation site located in Rudong County, Jiangsu Province, and will open it in 2014, would you please introduce the main functions of this site and how will it facilitate BASF’s crop protection business strategy in China?
BASF is establishing a plant for formulation and packaging in Yangkou Chemical Industrial (YKCIP) in Rudong, Jiangsu. As our very first plant for Crop Protection business in China, it will serve the market with fungicides, insecticides and herbicides products, after full operation in 2014. With an annual capacity of 10,000 metric tons, this new plant will enable to respond more quickly to changes in the market and directly address the needs of our partners and growers in China.
Will BASF introduce its rigorous global standards in manufacturing and operations into the formulation site based in China? If yes, how?
At BASF we adhere to the highest manufacturing standards all over the world. In our new plant in Rudong we strictly follow the same Responsible Care management system that includes detailed guidelines for each aspect of chemical manufacturing. With numerous technical measures and a comprehensive training program to our employees, we will ensure a safe working condition, and minimize the impact to the environment. Examples include extensive dust prevention and filtering equipment and a water collection, treatment and monitoring system for the entire site.
Given the differences of the culture and market circumstances between China and Europe (or US), will any personalized marketing strategy be taken by BASF for Chinese market?
At BASF, we are working together with farmers to help solve one of the world’s most important issues: feeding an ever growing population. To achieve this, we pay strong attention to voices from farmers as well as food value chain partners. In many countries across Asia Pacific, we coordinate grower education initiatives, and send our people to the field to talk to the farmers and learn about their needs.
Another good example will be our study with Chinese tomato producer COFCO Tunhe which 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.
What is your expectation for the contribution made by China to the development of BASF’s crop protection business in the future?
We have seen good growth over the previous years in the crop protection business, and as announced we plan on investing €1.8 billion in the upcoming 5 year (2013-2017) in property, plant and equipment. These expansions are due to the very successful market introduction of new products, like Xemium® and Kixor®, as well as higher demand from established products, like F500 and dicamba.
In China, we have got the commitment of Chinese authorities to establish and develop YKCIP as a location for modern and sustainable agrochemical industry. We expect our new site in Rudong to play an important role in the future manufacturing landscape of BASF.