The seed company Benary was founded in Erfurt, Germany by Ernst Benary in 1843. After World War II, the family business was shut down by the socialist government of East Germany.
So in 1946, Friedrich Benary moved to West Germany. The family business began to rebuild in Hannoversch Münden in Lower Saxony. Meanwhile, Friedrich got on his bicycle and rode across Europe, collecting seeds everywhere he went.
Today, Benary is a family business in its 6th generation with breeding facilities in the United States, the Netherlands, Chile and Germany. The company specializes in ornamental pot and bedding plants and exports seeds to 120 countries.
Opening operations in Chile paves the way for GlobalGAP
A few years ago, Benary took steps to implement GlobalGAP standards. The company wanted to become more sustainable and improve farm management efficiency.
A move into Chile provided the perfect opportunity to get onboard. Company leaders agreed to approach the certification process systematically and gradually adapt to each step of the procedure in this new location. This approach made room for the needed workflow adjustments and allowed workers an opportunity to learn the certification process from the ground up.
Using an interim localg.a.p. to prepare for GlobalGAP certification
Benary decided to start with localg.a.p. Even though localg.a.p. doesn’t provide full certification, it helped the company begin to adjust their mindset and daily operations.
The new site in Chile has about five hectares of land, with three hectares of production area and 10,000 sqm of greenhouse area. Both F1 hybrids and open-pollinated seeds are produced at the location. All employees were engaged in the process and had the opportunity to get comfortable working with GlobalGAP concepts.
Benary’s Home Farm Manager, Carla Leiva, said, “[This] was the first quality standard by which we wanted to be certified and its control points became part of all the departments of our company; nobody was out of this campaign and everyone got involved.”
After almost one year of investments and adaption, Benary successfully passed the localg.a.p. audit.
Better seed production practices due to GlobalGAP certification
Once they achieved localg.a.p. certification, the company began implementing more and more of the GlobalGAP check points. A year later they passed the GlobalGAP audit.
Carla Leiva, Benary Chile Production Homefarm Manager summarized the experience. She said, “We learned that the limit of our capacity is determined by us. We knew it would take some time to adapt all procedures and abandon old habits. The localg.a.p. program enabled us to move towards the certification as smoothly as possible.”
The production site and workflow now are quite different than before GlobalGAP was implemented. And that’s a good thing. GlobalGAP standards helped Benary be more structured and organized, since all processes are recorded and traceable. “We are proud about the success and the new level we reached due to the certification process” said Carla Leiva.