Tirdo ordered to increase production of ethanol to make sanitizer

24Mar 2020
Francis Kajubi
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Tirdo ordered to increase production of ethanol to make sanitizer

​​​​​​​AS the country races to contain the spread of coronavirus, Minister of Trade and Industries Innocent Bashungwa has directed Tanzania Industrial Research and Development Organization to increase production of ethanol, a raw material used by local manufacturers to sanitizers and disinfectants.

Speaking to TIRDO and Tanzania Bureau of Standards senior management officials last weekend, Bashungwa said local manufacturers of sanitizers and disinfectants need more ethanol to increase production of the chemicals needed to contain the spreading of COVID-19.

“I have been informed that TIRDO is producing a maximum of360 liters of ethanol (alcohol) a week, a key component for the production of sanitizer and disinfectants which is not enough. You need to increase your production capacity and inform manufacturers so that they buy the materials from you first,” Bashungwa ordered.

According to him the country has only three industries manufacturing the COVID-19 preventive gear and chemicals but that their production is still low because of inadequate raw materials and regular power outages.

The three factories are Keko Pharmaceutical Limited, Mansoor Daya Chemicals Limited and Tarmal Industries Limited which have capacity of between 1,500 and 5,000 liters a day. He ordered TIRDO management to come up with a budget needed to increase production by mid this week.

“I urge you to meet all manufacturers of protective materials immediately, learn their strength and weaknesses and prescribe solutions especially on boosting production to meet local demand,” he added while also ordering TIRDO and TBS to address challenges facing small and medium size enterprises which produce jelly soaps so as to also supply them with disinfectants needed for their products.

Bashungwa warned that he will revoke licenses of manufacturers and suppliers of COVID-19 protective gear and chemicals if they hike prices because of the growing demand by the public. “I will sit down with sugar manufacturers and negotiate with them on the need to use molasses from their factories to make alcohol needed for sanitizer production,” he noted.

TIRDO’s acting Director for Industrial Research, Humphrey Ndossi said TIRDO’s capacity of producing ethanol for sanitizer manufacturing from cassava and molasses fermentation is low hence the need to invest in expansion of its distillation processes.

TBS Director General, Dr Ngenya Yusuf said approved ethanol has been registered as batch No TZS 1650:2014 which the bureau’s officials are keenly following in the market. “We have organized teams across the country especially on ports of entry and border posts to make sure that protective materials that don’t meet standards are not smuggled into the country,” Dr Yusuf said.