Embrapa and BASF Develop the First GM Crop in Brazil

Cultivance®soybeans is the first genetically modified crop entirely developed in Brazil – from lab to market.

Embrapa-BASF joint press release – February 5, 2010 – Embrapa, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Cooperation, and BASF’s jointly developed herbicide-tolerant soybeans were green-lighted on December 10 by CTNBio. CTNBio, the Brazilian Biosafety Technical Commission stated that the genetically modified soybeans meet the standards and the Biosafety law for the environment and agriculture, as well as human and animal health. This decision will allow BASF and Embrapa to bring the new production system with the brand name Cultivance® to Brazilian farmers. Both companies are now seeking the approval for this technology in key export markets, such as China and the U.S.

Cultivance® is the first genetically modified crop developed in Brazil, from laboratory to commercialization. The approval is the result of more than 10 years of successful cooperation between Embrapa and BASF, a global leader in providing agricultural solutions. The Cultivance® Production System combines herbicide-tolerant soybean varieties with BASF’s broad spectrum imidazolinone class of herbicides, tailored to regional conditions.           

“The approval marks a new era for BASF’s plant biotechnology activities. We are very pleased to have BASF’s first genetically modified crop approved for commercial cultivation,” said Peter Eckes, President and CEO of BASF Plant Science. “Our strategy in plant biotechnology is to collaborate with the best partners to bring our superior genes to farmers. And thanks to this successful private-public partnership, farmers will benefit from improved weed control with less resource input, resulting in higher farm productivity.”

“The approval of the Cultivance® soybean, the first genetically modified crop developed in Brazil, represents our country’s competency in agricultural biotechnology. We are showing the world that we can deliver innovation. Embrapa adopts many technologies in research. We firmly believe that biotechnology, applied in accordance with the principles of sustainability, brings added value to society. It allows Brazilian farmers to have access to advanced technological alternatives, resulting in economical gains whilst being more efficient in maintaining natural resources,” said Pedro Arraes, Managing Director of Embrapa.

Cultivance® technology will offer farmers a new production system that effectively manages a broad spectrum of weeds. Designed for post emergence application, Cultivance®  herbicides provide farmers with convenience and flexibility to apply the herbicide as needed to control weeds during the first few weeks of crop growth. A single application provides season-long control of both broad leaf and grass weeds, including those difficult to control. Farmers will also enjoy logistical and environmental benefits. Fewer herbicide applications per hectare will reduce the use of machinery and labor, reducing costs for growers as well as the release of CO2 into the environment.

The Cultivance® Production System will be launched in Brazil from 2011/2012 season onwards.  Additionally, there is a significant interest in developing this technology adjusted to local needs of neighboring countries in Latin America, including Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. The partner companies are working to meet the requirements of the regulatory authorities in these countries and the approval could be obtained as early as two years after the Brazilian market launch.

The partners believe that plant biotechnology is a key for delivering innovative solutions for farmers in the 21st century, which advances sustainable agriculture worldwide.

About Embrapa

All the knowledge produced by Embrapa, since its establishment in 1973, has been decisive to the Brazilian agribusiness industry as well as to Brazil’s current key position in the global agribusiness scenario. Brazil and Embrapa are benchmarks in technology dedicated to tropical agriculture. The country is one of the global leaders in the production and export of agricultural and farming products, and projections indicate that it will be, in the near future, the world’s leading center for the production of biofuels, made from sugar cane and vegetable oils. Thanks to this position in the global scenario, the country has influenced decisively on the price and flow of foods and other agricultural commodities.

A vision of the future and strong investments in the qualification of human resources and the capability of being tuned in to the progress of science allow Embrapa to contribute to positioning Brazil in the frontiers of knowledge, in emerging issues such as agroenergy, carbon credits and biosafety, and in segments including biotechnology, nanotechnology and precision agriculture. Especially in terms of biotechnology, Embrapa’s operations have been of paramount importance for both the development of products and processes and risk planning and assessment.

About BASF

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics and performance products to agricultural products, fine chemicals as well as oil and gas. As a reliable partner BASF helps its customers in virtually all industries to be more successful. With its high-value products and intelligent solutions, BASF plays an important role in finding answers to global challenges such as climate protection, energy efficiency, nutrition and mobility. BASF posted sales of more than €62 billion in 2008 and had approximately 97,000 employees at the end of that year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.

Contact:

Embrapa  – Marita Cardillo +55 61 3448-4207 or +55 61 3340-7015
email: marita.cardillo@embrapa.br

BASF – Mette Johansson Tel. +49-621-60 28752
email: mette.johansson@basf.com

This release can be accessed as a PDF file here.

This release can be accessed in Portuguese here.

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