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The BASF Group, based in Germany, is the world's largest chemical company operating primarily six business segements: chemicals, plastics, perfomance products, functional solutions, agricultural solutions, and oil and gas. The Agricultural Solutions segment is run by its subsidiaries BASF Crop Protection and BASF Plant Science. As of 2009, BASF was the world's third largest agrochemical company.

Quick Facts (2013)

Reported Sales: EUR 73.97 billion

Net Income: EUR 4.84 billion

Workforce: 112,206 employees worldwide

Revenues are from: Chemicals, plastics, performance chemicals, catalysts, coatings, crop technology, crude oil and natural gas exploration and production

Brief History

BASF was founded as a dye company in 1865. At the turn of the century, it went into fertilizers, then produced explosives during World War I. Along with Bayer, Hoechst and three other companies, BASF was merged into I.G. Farbenindustrie, which took advantage of slave labour in concentration camps, and produced chemicals used in the extermination camps under the Nazi regime. After Word War II, the Allied powers allowed BASF to reemerge as an individual business.

Products and Impacts

The Agricultural Solutions segment had sales of EUR 4.033 billion, about 6% of BASF's revenues, from BASF Crop Protection.


BASF Crop Protection's profit is driven by strong sales of pesticides which included or includes chlorfenapyr, fipronil, flucythrinate, hydramethylnon, malathion, mecoprop-P, mancozeb, permetrin, phorate, terbufos, and vinclozolin. Malathion, an organophosphate, is a possible carcinogen, potential groundwater contaminant, and suspected endocrine disruptor.Mancozeb, a carbamate, is a known human carcinogen. Permetrin, a neurotoxin, is hazardous to honeybees, fish and aquatic insects, and has exhibited carcinogenic potential in mice.


In 1992, BASF introduced what it called its “Clearfield Production System (CPS)” for corn in the US. New Clearfield lines have been since developed by the company and sold through worldwide partnerships with more than 100 seed companies, for various other crops, in particular wheat, rice, sunflower and canola. It sublicensed the non-GE CPS herbicide-tolerance trait to Dow. In 2003, it entered into a joint development effort with the Malaysian government to produce two CPS rice varieties.

BASF owns the intellectual property rights over geneticially-engineered potatoes. Despite caution from the World Health Organization on the use of antiobiotic-resistance marker genes in GMOs, the EU approved the planting of these starchy potatoes, Amflora.