Two weeks following his keynote at the Global Ethanol Summit, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Cenksy led an agricultural trade mission to West Africa to help unlock new opportunities in the region, including ethanol.
The U.S. Grains Council (USGC), together with key ethanol and corn industry members, joined the mission to Ghana and led a separate mission to Nigeria to follow up with contacts and dialogue from the Summit and to discuss ethanol’s octane, economic and environmental advantages with regional officials and traders.
“The Global Ethanol Summit has been critical to further our West African engagement and has created in-country advocates for ethanol use,” said Brian Healy, USGC director of global ethanol market development, who participated in the mission. “Both Ghana and Nigeria had delegations attend the Summit and a post-tour in Colorado, which provided for an information exchange on both the benefits of increased ethanol use as well as the shared policy and technical challenges related to ethanol adoption.”
Nigeria is already the 14th largest market for U.S. ethanol, importing 18 million gallons valued at $26 million in the 2018/2019 marketing year for the industrial use market. Nigeria also produces some ethanol domestically for the industrial use market, predominately using cassava for a feedstock.
While the country has had an E10 policy on the books since 2007, the policy has never been enforced. The USGC delegation conveyed the opportunity for expanded Nigerian ethanol production as imported ethanol could provide a bridge between domestic production and policy demand, chiefly allowing Nigeria to save on foreign exchange. With limited online refining capacity, Nigeria is largely reliant on imports of finished fuel, which is heavily subsidized and has been the same price for nearly three years
“Our follow-up efforts in the region focus on demonstrating the economic value of using ethanol in the fuel supply,” Healy said. “Environmental and human health benefits are attached to expanded use, but with a nearly 40 percent subsidy on fuel, the government of Nigeria is looking to ease the impact of this subsidy on government coffers, the same narrative we see in Indonesia, Egypt and Ecuador, among others.”
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