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BASF’s new production facility in Ethiopia produces first vegetable seeds

Located in the country’s Amhara region, the first seeds produced at BASF’s new production facility in Ethiopia enter the global vegetable seed market

 The facility offers ideal year-round production conditions for sweet pepper, tomato and cucumber. It is BASF’s first high-tech greenhouse complex in Africa.  

Vicente Navarro, senior vice-president of BASF’s vegetable seeds business, said, “We invested around US$9mn into this new facility. It will provide us with extra supply reliability and flexibility to serve our customers worldwide. Sustainable food production is very important to us and we want to do our part. That is why we are very proud of this new facility: It makes us a frontrunner in terms of establishing the first sustainable high-tech seed production site in Ethiopia with fully automated processes for climate control including humidity, heating and irrigation.”

The premises cover a surface of 15 ha: two hectares are occupied by State-of the-art greenhouses while the rest is used for open field seed production facilities and infrastructure. Currently, around 70 permanent employees are working at the new site. BASF also provides employment to more than 100 seasonal workers. Most of the employees were recruited from the surrounding areas and trained in-house. 

High sustainability standards and commitment to social responsibility

The site fulfills BASF health, safety and environmental standards and goes beyond Ethiopia’s common sustainability requirements. To reduce its carbon footprint, mainly renewable energy sources are used to generate electricity. The greenhouses are heated with solar panels. Furthermore, the facility has its own wastewater treatment plant and all the waste it produces can be recycled on site.

Ben Depraetere, managing director, Nunhems Ethiopia PLC and country head of BASF’s vegetable seeds business in Ethiopia, concluded, “I am very proud to see that apart from delivering seeds to Ethiopian smallholder farmers, we are also actively involved in projects for reforestation and soil erosion control in the area. We want the local community to benefit. That is why, for example, we also supply the community around our site with safe drinking water, have invested in building new road infrastructure and established a fund to create job projects for unemployed young people from the surrounding area.”