CHEMICAL giant, BASF, is refocussing its business to concentrate more on fruit and vegetable products.

As one of the four strategic aims for the company globally, its target is for the No 3 league placing worldwide in this sector, claiming that it didn’t want to be seen as a ‘cereals only’ company in the future.

Matthew Goodson, who heads up the speciality crop sector in the UK, explained that the company had laid out its future intentions and indicated that fruit and veg will be considered as a key sector for the company to develop.

He pointed out that biological control methods will be used to complement proven chemical disease control.

“We have been trying to make sure our growers have access to the best crop protection products such as Signum (boscalid and pyraclostrobin) and Perseus (fluxapyroxad (Xemium) and difenconazole). Both have strong labels for vegetable growers in particular and a string of EAMU’s which are essential in this sector,” he pointed out.

“Signum has more than 70 EAMUs and Perseus has added a number of key crops via the EAMU system only from last year. With the acquisition of Becker Underwood, a few years ago, the largest entompathogenic nematode producer in the world, we have made available a number of biological products, such as Nemasys L and Nemasys C.

“There is increasing pressure for effective pest and disease control in fruit and vegetable crops, but there is also more legislation and higher consumer demands for quality produce with low residues.

“We believe that integration of chemical and biologicals has to be the way forward. As a good example, the biological fungicide Serifel, based on bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain MB1600, can easily be integrated in a program with our fungicide Charm, which contains Xemium and the triazole difenconazole,” he said.

“In the future, we are anticipating the highly effective revysol fungicide (mefentrifluconazole) to be developed for use in fruit and vegetables. And we are also looking to develop new herbicides too,” he said.