Zimbabwe’s sole ethanol producer, Greenfuel is on an expansion drive as it targets to increase production from 56 million litres last year to 80 million litres of ethanol this year.

Greenfuel is on a gradual expansion trajectory as it seeks to produce 500 million litres of ethanol upon reaching full capacity.

Speaking during a tour by Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs at the ethanol project in Chisumbanje, Greenfuel Managing Director, Conrad Rautenbech said the firm’s production capacity is expected to jump from 56 million litres recorded last year to 80 million litres this year owing to increased expansion of sugarcane fields.

Rautenbech said due to increased water supply from Osborne Dam, there is now potential to double production to 250 million litres per year in the next few years while in the long run, construction of Kondo Dam remains critical in order to provide enough water for the project to expand.

“Currently the factory can produce 120 million litres of ethanol but we now have water to expand our operations to 20 000 hectares and double production to reach at least 250 million litres every year,” he said.

The Minister of State for Manicaland Province, Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba said the government remains committed to ensure the project reaches full capacity, stating that the construction of Kondo Dam is important to increase ethanol production and reduction of the country’s fuel import bill, sentiments also echoed by the local legislator, Cde Enock Porusingazi.

“Greenfuel is a massive national project the will alleviate fuel shortages in the country. The construction of Kondo Dam is important in expanding operations by the ethanol producer,” said Dr Gwaradzimba.

With the current fuel shortages facing the country, there is consensus that the country’s ethanol project expansion should be fast tracked in order not to reduce the fuel import bill and increase fuel availability.