Nigeria needs 7 bn kg of Cassava annually for biofuel

Dec 19, 2006 01:00 AM

The ambition by Nigeria to achieve 10 % ethanol for fuel can only be attained when production of cassava grows to about 7 bn kg annually, a research has shown.
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, which revealed the outcome of a research, recently said the 10 % attainment of Ethanol in fuel would require massive production of cassava and sugarcane.

Under the biofuel initiative of the federal government the ethanol programme is expected to improve automotive exhaust emissions in the country, reduce domestic use of petrol, free up more crude for export and position Nigeria for development of green field.
IITA research revealed that ethanol is generally produced by the fermentation of sugar, cellulose, or converted starch. Preliminary estimates are that the Nigerian market could absorb 3 mm litres of ethanol daily.

An analysis showed that the current national average Cassava yield of 15 tons per hectare will be marginal while the current sugarcane yield of 60 tons per hectare are sufficient. To this end, improving Cassava yield becomes an imperative, said the Group Management Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporations (NNPC) Engr. Funsho Kupolokun recently.
He said Nigeria would be richer by $ 150 mm (about N 21 bn) annually when the bio-fuel initiative comes into being.

Kupolokun said as part of the implementation of the project, special research initiatives would be sponsored by NNPC to boost cassava and palm-oil output within the country and that the venture would lead to the setting up of several ethanol production plants at an average cost of $ 60 mm each. Nigeria and Brazil had signed a pact to enable the later to add ethanol to gasoline (which should begin in 2006).
Total production capacity of cassava in the country is within the range of 150,000 tons. Since 2003 the demand of cassava in the country has grown after the introduction of the presidential Initiative on cassava by President Obasanjo government.

IITA said about 7 varieties of cassava are recommended for their high yield and processing quality: TMS 30572, NR 8082, NR8083, TMS 4(2) 1425, TMS 81/00110, TMS 92/0326 adding that an additional 10 varieties are in the process of being released.

Source: Daily Trust
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