BANTEAY Meanchey-based Te Haing Development Co agreed last month to provide South Korea’s MH Bio-Energy Group with dried cassava for conversion into ethanol, managers at the two companies said Wednesday.
Ros Sopharith, senior manager of MH Bio-Energy Group, which was closed temporarily in September over water-contamination concerns, said his company had spent US$1 million to build a 5-hectare drying court as well as a warehouse for Te Haing.
“My company built these facilities to help Te Haing process cassava. I’m not worried about Te Haing supplying us with enough dried cassava because they will be growing part of the volume themselves,” he said.
The plant currently produces 10,000 tonnes of ethanol per year for export to Europe.
Te Haing, owner of Te Haing Development Co, said that MH Bio-Energy Group had helped him organise purchases of cassava from farmers in Banteay Meanchey province, but that he had also planted 1,000 hectares of cassava of his own in the province’s Svay Chek district, close to the drying and storage site.
“I signed a contract with MH Bio-Energy to supply them with 6,000 tonnes of dried cassava every two or three months,” said Te Haing, adding that MH Bio-Energy agreed to buy the dried cassava at $92 per tonne, while he would pay local farmers between $38 and $44 per tonne for the fresh cassava.
“Right now the drying area needs to be expanded by 5 hectares”, Te Haing said. “We cannot dry our cassava by machine like corn, rice or other crops because of it will damage the quality.”
According to Te Haing, on a good day his facility can dry 1,000 tonnes of cassava.
Ros Sopharith said that Te Haing Company would begin supplying after the end of the rainy season.