Chipinge gets an­other ethanol plant

The Manica Post - - Local News - Luthando Mapepa Chipinge Correspondent

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.

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