GHANA – Ghana’s Ho Technical University (HTU) has unveiled plans of partnering with Caltech Ventures Limited, a cassava processing firm in Ghana, to increase raw material supply to the firm.

According to Mr. Phanuel Klogo, Head of Agro-Enterprise Development Department at HTU the partnership seeks to increase investment in the agro sector and improve the productivity of Caltech.

Madam Kate Adu Baah, Executive Director at Caltech- which processes cassava into starch and industrial ethanol- said that firm is unable to operate at full processing capacity 70 tons of cassava daily due to inadequate raw material .

She said though the Company had 3000 acres of land to cultivate cassava, it was not able to meet the 70 tons per a day supply to the production unit due to various nursing stages of the crops.

Mr Phanuel said that it was important to invest in the sector through agriculture mechanisation in order to increase productivity and stimulate growth in the value chain.

Caltech Ventures also entered into a partnership with Kasapreko Company Ltd to increase production of industrial ethanol which saw the construction and installation of an ethanol plant at Hodzo, near Ho, capital of Volta Region of Ghana.

According to Chris Quarshie, managing director of Caltech, Ghana imports about 70 million litres of ethanol annually primarily due to insufficient investment in the sector.

In June 2016, the firm became the first to produce cassava-derived ethanol and was optimistic about absorbing the over US$200 million the nation spends on importing cassava flour and ethanol.

Kasapreko, an alcoholic beverage company, is the sole end user of Caltech’s ethanol while the firm’s cassava flour is majorly supplied to Accra Breweries, Guinness Ghana, Neat Foods and Praise Export.

Incorporated in 2009, the Dutch-Ghanaian cassava cropping and processing conglomerate has a target output of ten metric tonnes of industrial grade cassava flour.

The cassava value chain has a potential to produce more than 50 products, including native starch, various modified starches, cassava flour, sweeteners, biodegradable plastics, adhesives, beer and ethanol.

Among the major incentives by the government of Ghana to boost the sector include establishment of cassava processing plant under the One District One Factory industrialisation programme.

The government also unveiled plans of exploring ways to produce biodegradable plastic bags using cassava.