The ground breaking event and commissioning of ethanol plant, Allied Atlantic Distilleries Limited (AADL) first in Africa to produce ethanol from cassava, was held on Wednesday, January 30, 2014, at Igbesa Road, Ogun State. In this interview with the chairman, Mr. Olajide Rosiji, he explained why they changed to production of ethanol from cassava against regular sugar cane and much more.
How do you feel about today’s commissioning?
I’m very impressed and happy for this idea coming to reality, getting ethanol from our local product like cassava.
What is the economic importance of this?
This is more of test and proven facilities. Although it is neither here nor there, producing nine million litres of ethanol compared to the country importing 300 million litres of ethanol. But it has been tested and proven to work and the next thing is to set up a similar unit in many other places.
Another economic importance is the creation of employment and manufacturing the product from our local raw material to meet world standard. And at the end we are self reliant and recognized worldwide.
What were the challenges?
Don’t let us focus on challenges. This is Nigeria, everybody has to face challenges if you want to move from point A to point B.
Where do you want the federal government to come in?
They have done a lot. They have a programme of assistance with low interest loan for the land tenancy system.
Why did you change from sugarcane to cassava?
It was because we don’t have enough sugarcane. What we have much in this part is cassava, so is a question of adapting to reality on ground.
Knowing full well that cassava is a seasonal product, how have you prepared for this?
We source cassava from several places. Yes, the cost may be higher during the dry season, but all these have been put into consideration. Meanwhile, the production has been tested throughout the dry season and that would not be a challenge.
Are you not bothered about garri as one of our staple food which comes from cassava?
The specie of cassava we use is not really favourable for garri production. So, we won’t have any problem with garri production.
– DAPO ADESEKO