Nigeria will finally attain sufficiency in ethanol production as Unicane Industries Limited, Lokoja, has reiterated that the completion of its current plant expansion will be by the second quarter of next year.
Upon completion, Unicane, a subsidiary of the country’s pioneer and leading ethanol producer, Unikem Industries Limited, will produce 400,000 litres of Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA) per day.
According to a statement by an Executive Director of Unicane Industries Limited, Mr. Uzor Kalu, the industrial group whose presence in Nigeria exceeds nine decades, has continuously led and defined the ethanol industry, by investing tens of billions of naira in plant and machinery, built capacity and evolved from import reprocessing to upstream integration of local sourcing of raw materials of cassava, cashew apples and sugar cane molasses.
The executive director said that in 2013, Unicane acquired an expanse of land in Jamata Village, an uncharted area of Lokoja Local Government of Kogi State, to set up a state-of-the-art local cassava fermentation-to-distillation plant with 400,000 litres per day capacity of ENA from 100 per cent local raw materials.
Kalu, stated that the huge industrial development which commenced its first phase of production in 2018, has revolutionised cassava farming in Kogi State and its environs, turning cassava from a mere subsistence crop to a lucrative cash crop providing tremendous economic power to the farmers, a feat which he said resonates highly with the federal government’s policy drive to deepen the agricultural sector for improved national economic gains.
He listed other great benefits of the development to include import substitution, foreign exchange savings, thousands of direct and support employment opportunities and government revenue generation.
He stated that when Unicane’s ENA output of 400,000 litres per day come Q2 2020, is added to the production of Unikem Industries Limited, the group would achieve a combined daily ENA output of 700,000 litres, which would translate to an annual capacity of 210 million litres in bulk and packaged drums with a product quality that compares with the highest international standards.
Combined with the production of other locally based manufacturers, Kalu stated that total national ENA capacity would far exceed national consumption, eliminating the need for ethanol imports in Nigeria, and indeed feed exports to other African countries.