Panama City, Panama (PRWEB) July 31, 2012
Agro2, S.A. (http://www.agro2.com), a leading cassava producer located in Veraguas, Panama, is expanding its current cassava production due to popular demand. In addition to a small-scale ethanol plant producing 500 liters of ethanol per day, the company is currently constructing a larger cassava processing plant with alcohol and flour production units. In order to match increased processing, Agro2 has tripled its planted area from 33 to 100 hectares and is researching new cassava varieties to optimize production.
Cassava is amongst the world’s most significant crops. According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), about 600 million people in Africa, Asia and Latin America depend on cassava for food and income which is the third most important calorie source in the tropics. Moreover, cassava is also an excellent feedstock for ethanol production. Thanks to the crop’s high starch content and minimal requirements in terms of agricultural inputs, it offers itself as low cost biomass to produce bio-fuels.
Agro2 was founded in 2007 and has dedicated itself to cassava production and processing ever since. Panama was chosen as the company’s location because of its entrepreneurial vibe, fast growth and perfect location in terms of climate and logistics. Panama is a regional economic hub and is among the fastest emerging economies in Latin America with a GDP growth rate of 10.6% (2011).
In September 2011, the company installed a small-scale ethanol plant in order to commence ethanol production. Agro2 is now its final commercial roll-out phase and is constructing a large cassava processing plant which will produce 7,500 liters of ethanol and 2 tons of cassava flour per day. In order to match this large-scale in processing, Agro2 has increased its cassava plantation from 30 to 100 hectares. In cooperation with local farmers, Agro2 will increase production further to 380 hectares by 2013 and up to 700 hectares by 2016.
“We are committed to driving cassava production in Panama forward and are excited about the construction of our large-scale cassava processing plant. Cassava has the potential to generate employment and to offer a viable fuel alternative to dwindling non-renewable resources. We are constantly investing in further research of high-yielding varieties in order to make production more efficient”, said founder and director Frans Van Hulle.
The company has been testing 13 cassava varieties on yield and starch potential in its own cassava nurseries. It has decided to go ahead with 3 varieties which have shown the greatest potential for industrial use and are most suitable for the region’s climate and soil.
Agro2 is committed to producing cassava-based ethanol and cassava food products for domestic consumption and export through the use of sustainable agriculture practices in Veraguas region of the Republic of Panama. Agro2 uses sustainable agriculture practices and works to promote positive socio economic impacts in the Veraguas province of Panama. It is supported by Dutch goverment ministry Agentschap and by FACT foundation.