By Franklin Alli
The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Adewunmi Adesina, and Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, have commended Allied Atlantic Distilleries Limited (AADL), an ethanol manufacturing plant for making farming attractive in Ogun and Oyo states by hiring 8,000 cassava farmers for its operations.
They gave the commendation during the commissioning ceremony of the new ethanol plant at Igbesa in the state.
The minister praised the initiative, noting that it is a record breaking event and a testimony of the success of the Federal Government policy on cassava and sugar. Adesina said “Cassava is a commodity in focus with value addition in five points including the confectionery and pharmaceutical sectors and a massive job creator.
He regretted that even though the country was the largest producer of cassava globally, it has no place in the international market unlike Thailand that controlled 84 per cent of the global market even as the third largest producer.
Represented by the Technical Adviser on Cassava in the ministry, Mrs. Olatunji Oluwatoyin , Adesina said government intervention on cassava comes with different advantages such as the creation of jobs for millions of people while growing the small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) engaged in the sector.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun said the nation can only record economic growth, sustainability, security through initiatives such as this where a lot of people are gainfully employed and farming made attractive because farmers know they have a ready market for their products.
Amosun said the value addition into cassava will reduce the dependence on foreign exchange, stressing that any nation that fails to develop her agricultural sector can neither grow her economy nor her people. The governor noted that in Malaysia, cassava has been put into 23 uses which have grown the economy as one of the largest in Asia.
Mr. Ola Rosiji, Chairman, AADL, said the company currently engages over 8,000 farmers in Ogun and Oyo states, providing indirect employment to more than 40,000 people.”
According to him, AADL had earlier expanded its farm support services to farmers through the provision of agronomy package practices, improved variety, seed planting, mechanization and harvesting support.
He said that the investment was the company’s response to backward integration policy of government on cassava.
“It is the first of its kind in Nigeria and indeed the whole of Africa, it will produce cassava based Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA), otherwise known as ethanol, as it will also supply raw material to distillers, pharmaceutical and other related industries. In addition to the ethanol plant, AADL will produce carbon dioxide (CO2) for use in various industries including the soft drinks Industry.
“Having pioneered the development of technology and know-how and having proven that cassava can be used to economically produce ENA of international quality standard, we are already in the process of developing other projects which will be located in the cassava production area such as starch, glue and glucose factories. Our aim is to reduce dependence on imported ENA with the resultant saving in foreign exchange, production of jobs in the industrial sector and improving the farmer’s income,” he said.