Monsanto halts work on Argentine corn processing plant


BUENOS AIRES, Oct 1 (Reuters) - U.S.-based seed giantMonsanto Co halted construction of a planned cornprocessing plant in Argentina after protests byenvironmentalists disrupted entry of work supplies, the companytold Reuters on Tuesday.

Monsanto announced it was building the $150 million plant inthe major agricultural province of Cordoba last year.

"The project had been scheduled for completion in the firstmonths of next year," local Monsanto official Pablo Vaquerosaid. "That schedule is now in doubt."

Protesters from an environmental group called "The ArgentineMalvinas Assembly" blocked access to the construction site overobjections to Monsanto's work with genetically modified crops.

Argentina, the world's No. 3 corn and soybean exporter, hasstruggled to attract investment due to interventionist statepolicies, chronic labor unrest and double-digit inflation.

But with global food demand rising, capital still finds itsway to the country's fertile Pampas grains belt, which boastsample water supplies, easy access to the ports of the SouthAtlantic and is bigger than all of France.

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