Monsanto this month held inaugural events to mark the expansion of its seed processing plants in Hungary, Romania, and Turkey. More than 1,000 Monsanto employees, local and national government officials, contractors, suppliers, growers, farmers and journalists attended the inauguration events.
The events also highlighted a significant improvement in the environmental profile of our seed production plants with the introduction of corn cob burners that will cut our production-related energy bills and carbon emissions in half.
The events kicked off in Sinesti, Romania on Monday, Nov. 4. The $32 million investment will produce an additional 1.6 million corn seed bags with the help of 23 new full time employees. Each bag contains 50,000 kernels. The plant, 33 kilometers from Bucharest, produces 36 different types of conventional hybrid corn seeds for sale in Romania and other regional markets.
Some 150 people participated in the event in Sinesti, including representatives from the U.S. Embassy, the mayor of Sinesti, the Romanian Minister of Agriculture, the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, seed associations, farmers, agriculture professors and Monsanto employees. Attendees were given tours, watched a manufacturing video, and enjoyed a lunch of authentic Romanian food.
Next, we held an inauguration event featuring local folk dancers, musicians and food at our seed plant in Nagyigmánd, Hungary, around 100 kilometers (62.14 miles) east of Budapest. This time 185 guests participated, including 40 farmers and eight government officials. Over the past few years the plant has doubled its capacity to produce corn and oilseed rape seeds for the Hungarian and European markets.
The event began with a speech from Dr. Lajos Bognár, a high-ranking official in the Hungarian Agriculture Ministry, who stressed the importance of investments in high quality seeds and agriculture in Hungary. “Their [Monsanto’s] varieties and hybrids have been in the forefront of state experiments for many years now, regularly opening up new opportunities for Hungarian farmers to achieve outstanding crops and more efficient production,” Dr. Bognár said.
Finally, another event attracted 168 people to our seed plant in Mustafakemalpasa, Turkey, about 150 kilometers southwest of Istanbul. The plant produces corn for Turkey and export markets including Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Mideast. Monsanto was the first company to introduce mechanized harvesting and detassling to the agricultural industry in Turkey.
These expanded seed plants are part of Monsanto’s 500-million-euro investment in Central and Eastern Europe in order to double our seed production capacity. These expansions will create 150 full-time jobs and several thousand seasonal and contract jobs across the region. Monsanto employs more than 3,000 people in 70 locations throughout Europe, plus several thousand seasonal workers.
“Our investment in Europe significantly increases our ability to meet demand from local farmers for our high-quality, conventional hybrid corn and rapeseed varieties,” said José Manuel Madero, Monsanto’s Row Crops Lead for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“Our seed plant in Peyrehorade, France, exports corn and oilseed rape to 30 countries,” Madero added. “By expanding our own seed production capacity, we help countries increase their own exports, which in turn brings significant value to local economies.”
Monsanto’s investment in equipment to produce energy by burning corn cobs is part of a company-wide effort to become more resource-efficient. Just 55 percent of corn cobs shelled in the plant can produce enough energy to power all of their seed drying energy needs. This technology was introduced first in Nagyigmánd and is scheduled to be introduced at other seed plants across Europe, eventually cutting our carbon emissions from European seed production in half.