The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) says enough progress has been made towards ensuring the Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant which has a minimum output of 40 million litres becomes fully operational by June this year.
The setting up of the US$600 million ethanol plant in Chisumbanje which is a joint venture project between ARDA, MACDOM Investments and Rating Investments is progressing well with indications that the plant will be fully operational in June.
The project has been put in place as a buster to illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country by western nations on Zimbabwe in a bid to cripple the economy.
In an interview with ZBC News in the capital, ARDA board Chairman, Mr. Basil Nyabadza said the main component of the plant is being finalised as all the necessary equipment is now in the country, adding that by mid-May the plant will go for a test-run before commissioning.
â€œThe integral part of the plant is the boiler which is being finalised and by May there will be a test run though we had a number of challenges on transporting equipment for South Africa. The project has been progressing well and by June the plant will be operational,â€ said Mr. Nyabadza.
The ethanol project has employed more than 6 000 people with 60% of the parts manufactured locally.
After its completion, the plant is expected to produce 40 million litres of ethanol by the end of this year which is anticipated to increase to 105 million litres next year which is sufficient to cover 20% of the countryâ€™s petrol requirements.
Ethanol is blended with petrol and reduces the countryâ€™s fuel import bill.
The ethanol plant will be fed by raw materials from the more than 5 000 hectares of sugar plantations in Chisumbanje and ARDA Middle Sabi.