Monsanto plans $140 mln Ukraine non-GM corn seed plant

KIEV, May 24 (Reuters) - Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, plans to launch a non-GM (genetically modified) corn seed plant in Ukraine, one of the world’s leading producers of the grain, the company said on Friday.

“Monsanto is planning to build a seed plant in Ukraine to produce conventional corn seeds,” Vitaliy Fedchuk, corporate affairs specialist at Monsanto Ukraine, told Reuters in an email.

“The seeds will be for the Ukrainian market and for export.”

Ukraine, which harvested about 3 million tonnes of maize 10 years ago, threshed 20.9 million tonnes of the commodity in 2012 and might increase the output to 21.8 million tonnes this year, analysts say.

Initial investment in the project “is intended to be about $140 million”, Fedchuk said.

“We plan to have the plant operational as of August 2015, provided we finalise the land acquisition by mid-August 2013. We have several preferred locations, one of them is Vinnytsya.”

Ukrainian laws bar local farmers from growing genetically modified crops. Asked whether Monsanto expected changes in regulations, Fedchuk said:

“Indeed, in Ukraine only conventional seeds are allowed for production and importation, thus we will be working with conventional seeds only.” (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Michael Roddy)