1 August 2012

Agro2 expands cassava production due to high demand

New processing plant to produce 7,000 liters of ethanol, 5 tons of cassava flour per day

Agro2, S.A., located in Veraguas, Panama, is expanding its current cassava production due to popular demand. In addition to a small-scale ethanol plant producing 500 liters of ethanol per day, the company is currently constructing a larger cassava processing plant with alcohol and flour production units. In order to match increased processing, Agro2 has tripled its planted area from 33 to 100 hectares and is researching cassava varieties to optimize production.

Cassava is amongst the world’s most significant crops. According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), about 600 million people in Africa, Asia and Latin America depend on cassava for food and income which is the third most important calorie source in the tropics. Moreover, cassava is also an excellent feedstock for ethanol production. Thanks to the crop’s high starch content and minimal requirements in terms of agricultural inputs, it offers itself as low cost biomass to produce bio-fuels.

Agro2 was founded in 2007 and has dedicated itself to cassava production and processing ever since. In September 2011, the company installed a small-scale ethanol plant in order to commence ethanol production on a small scale. Agro2 is now its final commercial roll-out phase and is constructing a large cassava processing plant which will produce 7,000 liters of ethanol and 5 tons of cassava flour per day. In order to match this large-scale in processing, Agro2 has increased its cassava plantation from 30 to 100 hectares. In cooperation with local farmers, Agro2 will increase production further to 380 hectares by 2013 and 1015 hectares by 2016. This will make Agro2 the leading cassava producer in Panama.

“We are committed to driving cassava production in Panama forward and are excited about the construction of our large-scale cassava processing plant. Cassava has the potential to generate employment and to offer a viable fuel alternative to dwindling non-renewable resources. We are constantly investing in further research of high-yielding varieties in order to make production more efficient”, said founder and director Frans Van Hulle.

The company has been testing cassava varieties on their yield and starch potential and has been testing 13 varieties in its own cassava nurseries. It has decided to go ahead with 3 varieties which have shown the greatest potential for industrial use and are most suitable for the region’s climate and soil.

About Agro2, S.A.
Agro2 is committed to producing ethanol from cassava and food products for domestic consumption and export through the use of sustainable agriculture practices in Veraguas region of the Republic of Panama. Agro2 uses sustainable agriculture practices and works to promote positive socio economic impacts in the Veraguas province of Panama.

Source: "Agro2, S.A."www.agro2.com], press release, 2012-08-01.

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