GHANA – Caltech Ventures, a cassava cropping and processing company at Hodzo, in the Ho Municipality, is to begin the production of cassava-derived ethanol by March this year, the first in Ghana.

Ghana currently imports 60 million litres of ethanol yearly.

Mr Chris Quarshie, Managing Director of Caltech Ventures said this while briefing Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister of Trade and Industries who was on a familiarisation tour of facilities under his Ministry in the Volta Region.

Kasapreko Company Limited, (KCL), an indigenous alcoholic beverage producer, and a large importer of ethanol, holds 40 per cent shares in Caltech Ventures.

All is set, with a crack Ghanaian team of fabricators working for Memot Fabrication Engineering putting finishing touches to the columns and large steel storage tanks for test running of the plant to begin anytime soon.

Mr Quarshie said the waste from the process would be used to generate electricity and make fodder for animals.

He said only 400 of its 3,000 hectare land is under cultivation. This is to be scaled up to 1,000 hectares by close of year.

Dr Kwabena Adjei, Group Chairman of Kasapreko, said along with its out-growers, Caltech Ventures could change the economic profile of Hodzo and its environs.

He said Caltech Ventures is going into a partnership to produce 20 tonnes of starch yearly.

Dr Spio-Garbrah expressed excitement about what Caltech Ventures is doing, observed that root crops are potential major export products for the country.

He said region has a hugely untapped potential.