BASF forms public-private partnership with CIMMYT, part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
* Clearfield® agreement first step in providing African maize farmers with innovative, easy-to-use technology to control Striga (witchweed) in maize
* Maize production losses in Africa due to Striga are estimated at €1.2 billion annually
Research Triangle Park, NC, March 28, 2006 – BASF and CIMMYT, the international maize and wheat research center, have signed a development and commercialization agreement for a new CLEARFIELD technology. Under license from BASF, CIMMYT will introduce the CLEARFIELD trait into maize germplasm adapted to eastern and southern Africa to the benefit of millions of smallholder farmers whose maize harvest is devastated by the parasitic weed Striga.
This novel public-private partnership includes cooperation between BASF, CIMMYT, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), local public research systems and seed companies to provide CLEARFIELD maize genetics to African farmers. Local seed companies will produce commercial CLEARFIELD maize seed, which will be treated with StrigAway®, a novel seed coating to control Striga.
Striga is a parasitic weed that attaches to the roots of the host plant and does damage before the plant has emerged. Striga causes yield losses ranging from 20 to 80 percent. In contrast to crop spraying, StrigAway® seed coating is highly effective against Striga because it protects the plant throughout the entire growth process. StrigAway is also ideal for smallholder farmers in agriculture because it is easy to use and does not require sophisticated equipment or training.
Due to ineffective control measures, Striga has infested over 40 million hectares of maize in Africa, resulting in damages of over €1.2 billion a year. Maize is the most important food crop in sub-Saharan Africa and thus plays a major role in providing food security.
“This partnership with CIMMYT, AATF, local researchers and local seed companies enables BASF to offer African farmers a new, effective Striga control solution. The unique nature of Striga has rendered many other interventions ineffective. StrigAway offers farmers in affected areas the opportunity to realize consistent yield improvements and contribute to poverty reduction and increased food security,” said Emmanuel Butstraen, Group Vice President, Global Strategic Marketing, BASF Agricultural Products Division.
“Striga affects primarily smallholder and poor farmers, so they will benefit the most from this novel technology”, said Masa Iwanaga, CIMMYT Director General. “And it is through the combined engagement of all partners – CIMMYT, BASF, AATF, local researchers and seed companies – that the technology can be made available to improve people’s food security and lead to more sustainable use of resources for future generations, a clear contribution to sustainable development.”
“Linking poor smallholder farmers with technologies that improve their ability to produce food and working with these farmers to ensure that their productivity is increased is only possible through collaborative partnerships with organizations committed to these farmers,” said Mpoko Bokanga, Executive Director AATF.
CIMMYT is an internationally funded, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and training related to maize and wheat throughout the developing world. It grew out of a pilot program in Mexico in 1943 between the Mexican government and the Rockefeller Foundation. The Mexican-based organization, part of the CGIAR research network, works with national and international partners to create, share, and use knowledge and technologies that increase food security, improve the productivity and profitability of farming systems, and sustain natural resources.
The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) is a private not-for-profit organization dedicated to increasing the productivity of resource-poor farmers in sub-Saharan Africa by providing them with greater access to proprietary farming technologies and know-how.
The foundation is registered as a charity under the laws of England and Wales. It was incorporated in the UK in January 2003 and registered in Kenya, its host country, in April 2003. AATF is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.
The CLEARFIELD® Production System has been used extensively since 1995. The system matches carefully selected advanced seed varieties/hybrids with custom-designed imidazolinone herbicides.
All current CLEARFIELD varieties and hybrids as well as those that will be developed using this technology are recognized as non-GMO by international authorities. At the present time, BASF possesses the world’s largest portfolio of non-GMO herbicide tolerant traits and has established relationships with over 100 seed companies throughout the world. This strategy of worldwide alliances supports the program with an unmatched offering of seed alternatives to meet the specific local needs and preferences of individual growers.
StrigAway and the CLEARFIELD production system are registered trademarks of BASF.
With sales of around four billion Dollars (€3,298 million) in 2005, BASF’s Agricultural Products division is a leader in crop protection and a strong partner to the farming industry providing well-established and innovative fungicides, insecticides and herbicides. Farmers use these products and services to improve crop yields and crop quality. Other uses include public health, structural/urban pest control, turf and ornamental plants, vegetation management, and forestry. BASF aims to turn knowledge rapidly into market success. The vision of BASF’s Agricultural Products division is to be the world’s leading innovator, optimizing agricultural production, improving nutrition, and thus enhancing the quality of life for a growing world population. Further information can be found on the web at www.agro.basf.com.
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products, agricultural products and fine chemicals to crude oil and natural gas. As a reliable partner to virtually all industries, BASF’s intelligent system solutions and high-value products help its customers to be more successful. BASF develops new technologies and uses them to open up additional market opportunities. It combines economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility, thus contributing to a better future. In 2005, BASF had approximately 81,000 employees and posted sales of more than €42.7 billion (approximately $50.4 billion). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.
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