DuPont opens seed plant in Ukraine

KIEV, June 11 (Reuters) - U.S. chemical giant DuPont launched a seeds plant in Ukraine on Tuesday designed to help farmers increase harvests with more productive seeds, the company said.

The plant, which cost more than $40 million, is located in the central region of Poltava, the key area for Ukrainian agriculture.

The facility will produce seeds of maize, sunflower and rape, it said in a statement.

Ukraine, the world’s fourth-largest maize exporter in 2011/12, plans to harvest a record 27-28 million tonnes of the commodity this year but still needs higher-quality seeds to increase yields.

In 2012, maize yields fell to 4.79 tonne per hectare from a record 6.44 tonne in 2011. Productivity of Ukrainian grains is highly dependent on weather and analysts have repeatedly said farms needed seeds which were more resistant to drought.

Agriculture Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk told Reuters this week that the area under maize reached a record 4.8 million hectares this year. He said the ministry would persuade traders to export “as much maize as possible”.

Analyst UkrAgroConsult said on Tuesday Ukraine also could rise its sunflower and rapeseed harvest due to better weather.

Another global player on the seed market, Monsanto Co , said last month it planned to launch a non-GM (genetically modified) corn seed plant in Ukraine in 2015. .