German chemical giant BASF officially launched its operations in the Kingdom yesterday, aiming to tap into opportunities in the local agriculture sector and further its expansion in Southeast Asia.
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BASF, who has had a presence in the Kingdom since 2014, manufactures a wide range of chemical products, many of which have applications in agriculture, such as fertilizers and pesticides.
Speaking at the official launch of the company’s operations in the country yesterday, Petrus Ng, managing director for Thailand and Indochina, said that Cambodia was chosen for expansion because it is an emerging strategic market in Asean boasting steady GDP growth of about 7 percent a year.
BASF, with over 150 years of experience helping farmers around the world get better yields and increase earnings, can improve the lives of local farmers, Mr Ng stressed.
“The country is increasingly integrating with the region and has enjoyed a decade of macroeconomic stability and growth.
“The event today marks our official entrance into this important market. Our customers in Cambodia will enjoy the support of BASF’s global network, expertise, and our innovation,” he said.
Mr Ng said the company is committed to working closely with partners in Cambodia to better understand local sustainability challenges. “Whether it be natural resources or access to education for the next generation, we will offer not just our technology but also a more holistic approach to help address those challenges,” he said.
Martin Wolf, BASF Asean business director, said the company will mostly sell chemicals (particularly monomers and intermediates), performance materials including polyurethane solutions, as well as nutrition, health and agricultural solutions.
“Though Cambodia has quickly become a leading exporter of high-quality premium rice, a number of challenges remain for the country’s agricultural sector, including relatively lower levels of technology use and understanding by growers on how best to utilise innovations,” he said.
“We believe BASF is well suited to help address these challenges and are excited to help Cambodian farmers become more profitable and sustainable.”
Three new crop protection products are now available: Basagran – a herbicide for broadleaf weeds and sedges in rice – Tetris – for weed grasses in rice – and Regent – an insecticide for stemborers, thrips, and leaf folders.
Ingo Karsten, the German Ambassador in Cambodia, said Cambodia’s agricultural sector faces a number of challenges, including low skill levels and a weak regulatory framework, but said the country’s impressive development offers plenty of investment opportunities to German and European businesses.
“As the world’s leading chemical company, BASF has a lot of expertise to offer and share. This expertise will help Cambodian employees to improve their relevant skills and boost Cambodia’s economy in the long run.
“The opening of BASF Cambodia shows that there are yet business opportunities in Cambodia to be tapped,” he added.