BASF, Monsanto to invest additional $1 billion in joint crop research

Global chemicals major BASF and biotechnology giant Monsanto Company plan to invest an additional $1 billion for expanded collaboration in developing higher-yielding and stress-tolerant crops, including wheat.

In a press release issued today, Monsanto said the two companies are increasing investments in the joint venture, following strong leads and commercial prospects in the collaboration's early work.

The two companies started their research collaboration in 2007 on corn, soya, cotton and canola crops, with a joint budget of around $1.5 billion. The new agreement will result in a potential additional investment of more than $1 billion over the life of the collaboration, the release said.

"Our yield and stress collaboration with BASF already has brought forth so many promising leads, the first of which we'll see on farm in coming years with our first-generation drought-tolerant corn," said Robb Fraley, Monsanto's chief technology officer. "When I look at the promise Monsanto's unmatched pipeline holds, and the potential for the discovery work in progress at both our companies, today's announcement is excellent news for farmers around the world."

"BASF Plant Science is dedicated to discover genes for maximising yield in crops that will be brought to farmers through partnerships. The collaboration with Monsanto was not only the first agreement that we entered, it also represents our most significant partnership, covering several large row crops," said Peter Eckes, president of BASF Plant Science.

"The expansion of our partnership reflects the fit between the two companies. The yield increases that we have achieved together in the field so far give us confidence that we can do more in our collaboration crops, which now include wheat," he added.