Cargill has announced plans today (2 February) to build a new corn processing plant in Brazil to produce starches and sweeteners.

The agribusiness giant plans to invest BRL350m (US$210m) to “keep up with rising customer demand”, with the new plant to increase Cargill’s corn crushing capacity in South America by around 30%.

The company is considering setting up the plant in one of three Brazilian states, with a decision to be made in the first quarter of the year, and the plant is scheduled to begin operations in 2013.

“The partnership with our customers and rising domestic demand were key aspects that drove our investment. Cargill’s global leadership team sees with great optimism the growth of business in Brazil,” said Gonzalo Petschen, leader of the company’s South American starches and sweeteners business.

The company added that the new plant may also have a line dedicated to new corn-based ingredients, some that have “previously not been available in the Brazilian market”, including a number of proprietary technologies that provide food ingredient and industrial solutions for Cargill’s customers.

“Discussions are at an advanced stage, and we hope to have these innovations available for our customers soon,” said Petschen.