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November 17, 2011

Zimbabwe's sugarcane-derived biofuel goes on the market

Emerging African biofuel giant Green Fuel Limited of Zimbabwe has re-introduced locally made ethanol motor fuel blend that is 9 cents cheaper at the pump than gasoline.

The company has a US$600 million ethanol production and processing unit in Chisumbanje Estates, Manicaland province, The sugar cane-based fuel has been warmly received by motorists, according to a Green Fuel manager quoted by Newsday.

The pump price of the blend is US$1.36 a liter – 9 cents lower than straight gasoline.

In a statement, Green Fuel said that while the pricing structure needs to be competitive for sustainable production, the company anticipates a drop in local blend prices in reaction to its presence in the petroleum market.

The company said it has created thousands of jobs for local people among numerous other positive spinoffs from the project. “In the last three months, seven banks opened branches at the local growth point Checheche Business Center.”

Green Fuel said over 4,500 jobs have been generated around the ethanol plant, filled mostly by Zimbabweans returning home from the Southern African region.

Economist Eric Bloch said the biofuel project could create thousands of direct and downstream jobs, and reduce Zimbabwe's dependence on imported fuel.

But independent economist Bekithemba Mhlanga said that while the introduction of the ethanol-blended fuel is positive, its future is uncertain.

VOA

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