Ho, March 24, GNA - Caltech Ventures Limited, a joint Ghanaian-Dutch Company is to commence the production of ethanol and other by products from cassava at Hodzo, 15 kilometres East of Ho in the Volta Region by the first quarter of 2008. The project will involve the semi-mechanized cultivation of 4,000 acres of cassava for the processing, liquefaction, fermentation and distillation of cassava into 6,000,000 litres of the alcohol a year, for the domestic market and export to the West Africa sub-region. Facilitated under the President's Special Initiative (PSI) on cassava and estimated to cost 8.7 million dollars, the project is expected to provide about 20 percent of Ghana's import of ethanol for use in the production of alcoholic beverages.
Mr Chris Quarshie, Managing Director of the Company announced this when the Minister for Private Sector Development and the President's Special Initiative (PSI), Mr Kwamena Bartels visited the 250,000-seedling nursery on the company's 500-acre multiplication site at Hodzo near Ho on Friday. Mr Qurashie said in addition to the nucleus farm, there would be 170 out-growers within 40 kilometres radius of the nucleus farm to be supported by the PSI with extension services, farmer education and organization and micro-credit. Mr Bartels praised the initiative of Caltech for its decision to set up in the Volta Region. He said Caltech's initiative was in accord with the government's vision to create a growth pole in the communities as envisaged in the PSI.
Mr Bartels said such investments provided a solid foundation for reducing rural poverty, provide stable employment, ensure regular income and impart new technologies of production to rural people. "I am impressed by what I have seen of Caltech here, which is in accord with the President's vision of golden age of business", Mr Bartels said. He gave the assurance that companies, which invested outside Accra, Tema, Kumasi, Takoradi and other major cities stood to benefit from several incentive packages including tax incentives.
Mr Kofi Dzamesi, Volta Regional Minister said Caltech's presence in the Region was a vindication of the Region's preparedness to welcome investors to do business with its people. He assured Caltech of the fullest co-operation of the local people, the Regional Co-ordinating Council and the Ho Municipal Assembly towards making it a model of successful investment in the Region. Mr Dzamesi expressed the hope that Caltech's operations in the Region would serve as a catalyst in challenging citizens from the Region with the means to invest at home. Mr Papa Kow Bartels, Project Manager, PSI, Eastern/Volta regions who briefed the Minister on the technical details of the project said over 1,255 people would be employed by the project.