Agro2 achieves sustainability certification for cassava in Panama

By Agro2 S.A. | October 31, 2012

Agro2 S.A., located in Veraguas, Panama, is proud to be the first company in Panama to be certified by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification confirming the compliance of Agro2’s cassava production and processing methods with the sustainability criteria set out in the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive.

Agro2 was founded in 2007 and is dedicated to cassava production and processing in the Veraguas region of Panama. In September 2011, the company installed a small-scale ethanol plant, pioneering small-scale cassava-based ethanol production in Panama. Agro2 is currently in its commercial roll-out phase with the construction of a large-scale ethanol plant producing 7,500 liters (1,981 gallons) of ethanol and 5 tons of cassava flour per day. Moreover, the company offers peeled and waxed cassava for domestic consumption and export. Prior to ISCC certification, Agro2 analyzed various sustainability certification schemes and came to the conclusion that ISCC-EU, one of the strictest certifications systems, was most appropriate for Agro2’s operations.

The ISCC-system was established in 2009, following the Renewable Energy Directive of the European Parliament and Council, promoting the use of energy from renewable resources. The ISCC-system acts as a trusted label for sustainable biomass and bio-energy by guaranteeing sustainable biomass production and energy conversion. Moreover, it verifies greenhouse gas savings against fossil fuel baselines and responsible management structures. So far, ISCC has issued more than 1600 certificates worldwide. In addition to being the first company certified by ISCC in Panama, Agro2 is also the first company processing cassava under the ISCC sustainability scheme.

“We are excited to be a member of the ISCC system, promoting sustainable energy in Panama and abroad. Agro2 is committed to sustainable agricultural practices and wants to act as a model project for agricultural and energy production in the region. With the help of the ISCC seal, our commitment to sustainability has now been confirmed”, said founder and director Frans Van Hulle.

Agro2 is also continuously investing in methods that support farmers in the Veraguas region and has been testing cassava varieties on their yield and starch potential in order to optimize its production. To improve regional structures in Veraguas, the company supports the formation of a farmers’ association and invests in technologies that are easily accessible to farmers. The company plans to install cassava drying floors on partner farms and to purchase mobile chippers which can be transported to remote farms to boost cassava processing.