Basf is looking for Mexican entrepreneurs to develop farming solutions

The German chemical company selected 15 startups as part of its AgroStart program, in order to develop applications that help the productivity of the field.

Constant acceleration of urbanization, which reduces arable land and population growth, expected to reach 9,000 million people by 2050, as well as the constant demand for energy; these facts are changing farming needs. The chemical company Basf chose to find solutions with the help of Mexican entrepreneurs.

By the end of November, the company launched the AgroStart program in Mexico, in which 79 startups participated and 15 were selected, developing technological applications that involved crop management, e-commerce, robotics, vertical farming, precision farming, and information systems. Entrepreneurs, mostly with families involved in the farming business, come from Durango, Veracruz and Mexico City, among other states.

“Next year in January and February, we will visit entrepreneurs to see the place where they carry out their developments. We are working on an analysis of their ideas to be able to take them to an acceleration stage, in which we can identify between 15% – 20% of these 15 startups, so that we can support them in potentiating what they are looking for”, said Ivan Rodriguez, Chief of Digital Models of the BASF Agriculture Solutions business for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

These startups presented ideas based on satellite information services, other applications focused on forecasts of plant health problems or vertical farming.

This Basf program started in 2016 in Brazil with venture capital funds, with an initial investment of about $ 30,000 USD per project. Later, it was replicated in Argentina, where there are more than 230 projects and over 20 startups are being developed in Latin America. This year, Agrostar was launched in Mexico and Central America, so that in 2021 it can be taken to Europe.

“To a regional level, over 420 projects have participated in this event, based mostly on precision farming (42%); farm management (29%) and robotics (11%)”, added Rodríguez at a press conference. He stated that the idea of the program is to promote these companies, and at the same time, to generate applications that promote the development of the field in Mexico.

“What we are looking for is that, through this program, the farming environment can identify a new source, that we are able to develop projects with a single purpose: to promote the development of the Mexican field”, he added.

In Mexico, the chemical company – which also develops petrochemicals, chemicals for the development of home and personal care, construction chemicals, as well as oil and gas, works with 2,000 employees and houses 10 production sites, located mostly in the State of Mexico, Altamira and Puebla.

Some of their main clients are Herdez, Unilever, L’oreal, General Motors, Sabritas, Henkel, Kimberly Clark, among others.