NIGERIA – Nosak Distilleries Limited, one of the leading ethanol refineries in Nigeria, has acquired over 6,000 hectares of arable farmlands in Edo State as part of the company’s efforts to improve local raw material sourcing and increase ethanol production.

Speaking in the side lines of fourth Cassava and Starch Africa Summit held in Accra, Ghana, the Group’s Executive Director, Corporate Services, Osagie Ogunbor disclosed that the Nosak Group was expanding the frontiers to ensure sustainable growth.

Ogunbor, said that Nosak Group, parent company of Nosak Distilleries, will invest over US$13.88 million (N5bn) in the acquisition of farmlands for its backward integration scheme as well as a plant with a capacity of 100,000 litres per day of ethanol.

According to Osaro Omogiade, the managing director, Nosak Distilleries, the investment brings the group’s total plantation in Edo State to over 19,000 hectares.

“These farmlands will enable the Group grow three of its subsidiaries: Premier Plantations Limited for cassava plantation and conversion to ethanol for Nosak Distilleries Limited while Nosak Farm Produce Limited and Saturn Farms Limited will increase their plantation base for palm oil, milling, and refining,” Omogiade said.

Omogiade highlighted that the summit was a platform for industry stakeholders to discuss among others, innovations in farm mechanisation, new cassava processing projects, starch market opportunities, sourcing challenges faced by end users.

The summit under running under the theme ‘Driving Sustainable Development through Innovative Value Chains,’ sought to explore emerging trends in the utilisation of cassava and its many by-products.

“We participated in this year’s summit as a result of our diversification in the agricultural sector and to explore the option of cassava to ethanol locally,” Ogunbor added.

Omogiade, who was appointed as the s the new Managing Director Nosak Distilleries in February this year, however insisted on the importance of increasing investments in the value chain in order to realise full potential.

Efforts to lift the country’s cassava sector has also seen the Federal Government inaugurate a cassava processing plant in Akwa-Ibom State.

Speaking during the inauguration, Dr Usani Usani from the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs said “The huge cassava production in the country may be wasted if not properly processed and utilised for economic prosperity.

“The establishment of Cassava Processing plant in Afi Uda community will add value to the Cassava production in Akwa-Ibom State,” he added.

Nigeria is currently the highest producer of Cassava in the world.