Chipinge gets another ethanol plant
ETHANOL giant Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant is set to put up an additional multimillion-dollar ethanol plant in Middle Sabi, The Manica Post has learnt.
The Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant, a joint venture between Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) and Green Fuel, has since signed a Memorandum of Understanding with various partners towards the construction of Kondo Dam which will supply water for the expansion of sugarcane plantations.
ARDA board chairperson Mr Basil Nyabadza on Wednesday said the construction of another ethanol plant in Middle Sabi was at an advanced stage.
He said the completion of the project would turn around the country’s economic fortunes.
Mr Nyabadza said the new development would see the company increasing the hectarage of sugarcane to 20 000 in Middle Sabi to sustain the new ethanol plant.
“Yes, I can confirm that another ethanol plant will be established and commissioned in Middle Sabi anytime soon and resources have already been mobilised with the current investor.
“What we are saying is that we need to expand our operations in Chisumbanje by establishing another plant at Middle Sabi Estates.
“The move is aimed at increasing mandatory petrol blending in the country from E20 to E40. Every season between January and March when we stop harvesting the cane our ethanol reserves go down, therefore we shifted from E20 to E10 .The new plant will make sure that blended petrol will be available all year round.
“This will help to save the much needed foreign currency as the country gobble an average of $4 million every day to import fuel,” said Mr Nyabadza.
The new ethanol plant, which depends on water availability, will see ARDA constructing an inland dam in Kondo area which will sustain an additional 20 000 hectares of sugarcane.
Currently, Chisumbanje and Middle Sabi sugarcane fields rely on water from Osborne and Rusape dams.
However, these water sources have proven that they are not sufficient to supply water annually.
Mr Nyabadza also said feasibility studies of the dam were done and it would be located a few kilometres from Save River.
“To further our expansion drive, we need adequate water supplies to our sugarcane fields, hence our intention to invest in water storage. All along we have been facing water challenges to irrigate sugarcane plantations in Middle Sabi and Chisumbanje because our main sources of water cannot provide water perennially.
“We are intending to construct the dam on Private Public Partnership model with interested players and right now we are currently in negotiations with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate on how best the dam will immediately constructed,” he said.
Mr Nyabadza also said the dam construction would turn around the economic fortunes of the surrounding communities in Middle Sabi.
“Once the dam is constructed it will not benefit Green Fuel alone, but the surrounding communities. Smallholder irrigation fields will be established because we would have a reliable water source.
“The project will see Middle Sabi farmers becoming outgrowers. We also anticipate that this will create employment to locals at the main plant and the dam. Once the plant is finished, we will produce electricity which will be supplied to the national grid just like what we do at Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant,” he added.
Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant is one of the biggest and most successful Public Private Partnerships project in the country.