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German conglomerate Bayer opens largest seed plant in Ukraine

German pharmaceuticals and chemicals giant Bayer has opened a $200-million seed plant in Zhytomyr Oblast, 100 kilometers west of Kyiv.

The plant, located in the village of Pochuiky, will produce 750,000 bags of corn seeds per year, enough to plant 750,000 hectares of land, the company said in a press release issued on Sept. 5.

“It is one of the largest (plant’s) in Europe and is the most modern in Ukraine, and will provide 25-30 percent of all corn harvested in the country,” Vitaliy Fedchuk, head of Bayer Ukraine’s Corporate Engagement and Government Affairs department, told the Kyiv Post.

Altogether, Ukraine harvests 4.3 million hectares of corn annually, according to Baker Tilly business consulting firm.

Initially, the plant was built and owned by ERIDON, a Ukrainian company specializing in plant protection products, field crop seeds and fertilizers belonging to businessman Serhiy Krolevets. The construction of the plant started in 2009.

Krolevets would not comment on the deal.

The plant was sold this year to U.S.-based multibillion-dollar conglomerate Monsanto, a company highly criticized by environmental groups for medical pollution as well as for failing to warn the public of risks of cancer associated with its Roundup weed killer.

Soon after, Bayer purchased Monsanto in May for $63 billion, and now the plant is owned by Bayer.

The price and reasons of the deal were not disclosed to the Kyiv Post.

According to Fedchuk, $200 million is the cost of the plant’s construction, equipment, logistics complex and irrigation systems to process corn, as 50-60 percent of the seeds sold by the company are grown in Ukraine.