BASF Crop Protection and Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA), the leading Brazilian agricultural research institution, signed an ambitious technical cooperation agreement to develop and bring new agriculture technologies and products to Brazilian growers. The cooperation brings together the expertise and know-how of both partners in the search for untapped agricultural solutions in the areas of biotechnology, genetic improvement, soil fertility and mechanization, plant protection, and physiology. The agreement is valid for five years with no limit on the number of projects to be explored.

The cooperation has already resulted in projects that are currently in the development stage. The initial project, for example, evaluates the feasibility of using a bacterium to enhance nitrogen fixation for sugar cane plantations. "There is a strong demand for biological products", says Eduardo Leduc, Senior Vice President BASF Crop Protection Latin America, "with their unique mode of action and features, biological products are a perfect complement to our chemical portfolio. As these biologicals do not produce residues, growers have one more tool to manage resistance and gain flexibility to apply crop protection closer to harvesting time".

"We believe that the development of new technologies of this scale is only possible through partnerships such as this one, which enhances the exchange of knowledge between two key agricultural partners in Brazil," says Markus Heldt, President BASF Crop Protection. "The scope of this initial project and the benefited crop was selected according to its relevance to Brazilian agriculture. The objective is to ensure the solutions we bring are relevant and needed", Heldt adds.

BASF and EMBRAPA have a long history of joint projects. In 2010, the companies announced the approval for commercial cultivation of Cultivance(R), the first genetically modified crop developed in Brazil, from laboratory to commercialization . With this latest agreement, new joint projects will be brought through the development and commercialization stages at a much faster rate. "The agreement is a great example of effective public- private partnerships capable of developing technologies and furthering the economic, social and environmental strength of Brazilian agriculture", highlights Heldt.