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.

A few years ago, Benary took steps to implement GLOBALG.A.P. standards. The company wanted to become more sustainable and improve farm management efficiency.

Therefore, as a first step, Ernst Benary Samenzucht GmbH in Germany, successfully passed the GLOBALG.A.P. Chain of Custody standard during February 2018.

Then, certification according to the GLOBALG.A.P. IFA standard Version 5.1 was achieved for the site in Guatemala. This site only had greenhouse crops and certain laws in Guatemala made this an easy process.

Using localg.a.p. to prepare for GLOBALG.A.P. certification

They prepared the old production site in Chile,"Semillas de los Andes” for possible GLOBALG.A.P. certification but quickly realized it will not be as easy and quick as in the case of Guatemala. Therefore, they decided to start first with the implementation of localg.a.p.

In 2018 Benary moved to a new property, "Benary Chile Spa” and implemented there as well the localg.a.p. program. The new site in Chile has about five hectares of land, with three hectares of production area and 10,000 sq m of greenhouse area. Both F1 hybrids and open-pollinated seeds are produced at the location

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.

All employees were engaged in the process and had the opportunity to get comfortable working with GLOBALG.A.P. concepts. Even though localg.a.p. doesn’t provide full certification, it helped the company begin to adjust their mindset and daily operations.

Benary’s Home Farm Manager said, "localg.a.p. was the first quality standard by which we wanted to be assessed 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. assessment.

Better seed production practices due to GLOBALG.A.P. certification

Once they achieved compliance against localg.a.p., the company began implementing more and more of the GLOBALG.A.P. control points. A year later they passed the GLOBALG.A.P. inspection.

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 certification as smoothly as possible.”

The production site and workflow now are quite different than before GLOBALG.A.P. was implemented. And that’s a good thing. GLOBALG.A.P. 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 capacity building process of localg.a.p. that lead to GLOBALG.A.P. certification” said Carla Leiva.

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Photo credit: Benary