BASF, one of the largest chemical companies in the world, held an international agricultural conference in the building of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) on November 19, reasserting its commitment to the Visegrád region, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.
According to the press release, the company argues that technological innovation requires risk taking and is based on uncertainty, a principle which must also appear in regulation.
The conference, entitled "Cooperation for Sustainable Agriculture," created a forum for dialogue between the global leaders of BASFʼs plant protection division and experts from the Hungarian Plant Protection Authority, with agriculture in focus as the main theme of the discussions.
Christoph Hofmann, head of the agricultural solutions division at BASF Hungária Kft., noted that the conference was aimed at providing a platform where various stakeholders (the government, producers, industry) could discuss questions of the future of agriculture. A holistic approach to sustainability is indispensable when we talk about agriculture, he stressed, which can only become sustainable if environmental, social and economic aspects are equally incorporated into the decision-making process.
In his opening speech, the eventʼs chief patron, Zsolt Feldman, minister of state for agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture, emphasized that precision farming and digitalization may prove keys to achieving economically viable, efficient agricultural production with sustainable resource management.
"Over the past few months, it has become clear that we would like to increase the domestic agricultural performance of the past few years, because, if we compare ourselves to Western European states, we still have a lot of work to do," stressed Feldman. "By establishing a stable market and cooperation environment we can help in the short term, but in the medium term only sustainable agriculture can be the solution. In the professional debate, we count on everyone: every business has its own potential and responsibility to contribute to knowledge-based agriculture, resulting in higher production rates with a smaller natural footprint."
Thomas Narbeshuber, managing director of BASF Hungária Kft. and BASF’s Central and Eastern European leader, stated that innovation has made BASF a leading chemical company with unique resources and opportunities in the chemical industry today. In addition to the topic of innovation and digitalization, BASF’s new strategy and the importance of Visegrád cooperation was also addressed.
"We continue to shape and encourage discussions about sustainable agriculture," Narbeshuber emphasized. "We will do our utmost to support producers and to leave a positive legacy for future generations. We find that Hungary and the Visegrád Four are gaining strength within the European Union."
"BASF is a committed partner to the Visegrád countries," he added. "Nothing proves better the potential of the region than the exceptional amount of foreign working capital flowing here. This can also be the driving force of the European economy in the future, especially after Brexit."