b'I strongly believe in the rationalization of any issue soonerseeking rational and efficient management using such products or later. However, in the case of Greece this rationalization hason every level.arrived later than sooner. The crisis has mobilized the Greeks atThrough a program of recording and highlighting best all levels. Our ancestors used to say that we need to convincepractices, he says BASF strives to identify points for improve-even the Gods. These days, this is not necessary! ment in everyday farming practice, so the producer perceives Throughout the crisis, he says the rationale for quality,and embraces practices of continuous self-improvement of his differentiation and branding emerged even more strongly thanproduction process. Improvement results in better, more cost-ef-before. Although cotton and olive oil are the top export productsfective management of revenue, improved production, and an from Greece, there is a very low level of processing, especiallyincrease of economic outcomes. for cotton, accompanied by the absence of branding. A way ofOur proposal is for sustainable practices for the producer, surviving the crisis is to analyse these two concepts lookingthe environment, so that future generations can also find natural at quality and capturing the value in all agricultural products. resources for their own continuation of the production process.I would say today that this experience of capturing value in agriculture is now filtering through all sectors of Greek society.STANDING OUT IN GREECEAll breeding programs from seed companies face the same chal- WE AIM TO MAKE GREEK QUALITY lenges related to climate change, resistance to various infesta-tions, environmental and consumer demands. COTTON A REFERENCE OF All the above apply to cotton since new germplasm mustEXCELLENT QUALITY AND HIGH resist to stress conditions created by the changing environment. Such breeding programs aim to reach maximum yield levels byVALUE FIBRE.making full use of inputs, through limited environmental losses. In addition, the quantity of natural resources used such as water and inputs used by the grower and other players in the value chain should be transparent so that the final consumer is deliv-ered with an environmentally friendly product. This is a reason why a plant breeder needs to have a 360 vision and a solidCREATING CHEMISTRY knowledge of environmental issues to answer such challenges. The slogan of the company is BASF creates Chemistry. How The FiberMax breeding program, that has existed for moredo they tackle any potential concerns about being a chemical than 20 years in Europe, has succeeded in increasing the produc- company?tion and even revenue for Greek cotton producers, says Tsoutsas.We create chemistry for a sustainable future is our com-These varieties are a reference for the entire European cottonpanys purpose, says Tsoutsas. Creating chemistry means, of market and a comparable measure for each new genetic materialcourse, the scientific level, and more importantly the relationship regarding key performance criteria and fibre quality. level, toowith our employees, customers, society and other In terms of loyalty, Tsoutsas says both the producer and thestakeholders. consumer are loyal to a product when convinced there are bene- The world is changing more rapidly than ever before, driven fits. He says the FiberMax cotton seed varieties have increasedby demographic change and new digital technologies. He says their growers production and improved their financial performance.customers in different industries and regions face diverse social These last two decades have seen the establishment of aand environmental challenges due to limited natural resources and long and honest relationship based on mutual respect and trust.increasing consumer demands. Chemistry is key to solving many We always try to provide the best product, distinctly differenti- of these challenges. By combining our unique expertise with our ated and recognizable. customers competence, we jointly develop profitable, innovative Tsoutsas states it is more than just being the provider ofand responsible solutions for these global trends. high-quality seeds for cotton growers. BASF started to partnerIn addition, we have committed ourselves to growing pro-with the value chain and worked with the ginning industry andduction volumes without adding further CO2 emissions until reached out to the spinning and knitting industry. Through tar- 2030. This means we will decouple greenhouse gas emissions geted pilot projects, he says they have shown the advantages offrom organic growth. We have also defined targets for a sustain-our seed varieties at each stage of cotton processing: able product portfolio, responsible procurement and engagedThe ginners recognized the difference in fibre yield.employees. Safety for people and the environment, inclusion ofThe spinners understood the possibility of producing finerdiversity and water management will remain a top priority. In yarn (Ne number). this way, we want to steer our business into a sustainable future The knitters were able to still produce good fabricstheand, at the same time, contribute to the implementation of the proof that less inputs can result in the same quality fabric.United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The designers are experimenting by using sustainableAt the grower level, Tsoutsas believes they are trying to cotton in their fashion items. In 2017 we collaborated withchange the production process of cotton, to highlight the impor-a Greek fashion designer, Ioanna Kourbela, for a pilot gar- tance and value of sustainable farming practices. In short, do ment production. more with less resources.At country level, he says they aim to make Greek quality REDUCTION IN CROP PROTECTION PRODUCTS cotton a reference of excellent quality and high value fibre, BASF has a wide range of cotton products (herbicides, insec- attractive to the global clothing industry and top end market ticides, growth regulators and defoliants) included in thebrands.agricultural solution proposal of cotton production through sustainable farming practices. Through the CSF program ofEditors Note: This story has been condensed for print. To sustainable farming practice, they follow an intensive protocolread the full version, go to european-seed.com.EUROPEAN-SEED.COMIEUROPEAN SEED I 37'