Allied Atlantic Distilleries Limited, the only ethanol manufacturing company in Nigeria, says the company will improve ethanol production in Nigeria from nine million to 75 million litres annually by 2020.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr Rajavelu Rajasekar, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.
Rajasekar, who explained that Nigeria was currently importing about 260 million litres of ethanol, said the plan for the improvement in local production was to enable Nigeria save its foreign exchange.
He said the company, situated in Ogun State, began operation in 2014 and was currently producing nine million litres of ethanol from fresh cassava sourced locally from farmers.
The director told NAN that the company also had the plan of setting up ethanol companies in Oyo, Osun and Kwara by 2020.
“Nigeria is importing 260 million litres of ethanol and we produce nine million litres in a year.
“That means, it is only 3.5 per cent of the total importation is being marketed by us so, the forex reserve of this nine million litres is being benefitted by the country and then, there almost 5,000 hectares of farm is being cultivated by 5,000 farmers in two states.
“Thousands of direct and indirect employment on loading, agriculture, and transport are the benefits of the local people in the farming area and the factory area.
“We have the ambitious plan of multiplying this mill in different states; so, we are working towards another three to four mills before 2020.
“Now we have in Ogun State, we want to expand it to Oyo, Osun and Kwara states in the years to come.
“You are importing 260 million litres at least, we want to increase from nine million litres to 75 million litres in another four to five years,’’ Rajasekar said.
He expressed regret that high cost of raw materials was a major impediment to effective production of ethanol. According to him, the cost of imported ethanol is sold at N350 per litre as against N160 per litre which it sold last year.
“We get our profits based on supply of cassava from farmers. Most of the farmers are peasant farmers, having less than one acre of land,” he said.