Against the backdrop of rising fuel prices and increasing demand for transport fuels, coupled with government’s imperative to reduce high unemployment levels by developing the agricultural sector to support a bio-fuels sector, it was considered necessary to conduct research to determine the factors that would influence the success of bio-ethanol production for use in liquid transport fuels. The literature review highlighted five key factors that were developed into research questions to establish whether these factors are relevant to the South African context and which are considered more important. The research was conducted using a combination of face-to-face interviews and telephonic interviews to gather opinions from 16 subject matter experts in the field of bio-fuels. A questionnaire was used to drill down into each of the factors individually, to determine the importance of that factor as it relates to bio-ethanol production. The findings reveal that the absence of clear and sound government policy poses the biggest hindrance to the establishment of the industry. Furthermore, that agricultural development is a major factor for the success of bio-ethanol production as the industry is dependant on the availability of competitive feed stocks in order to be sustainable. Finally, that job creation is the motivating factor for the establishment of the industry since it addresses a government imperative to reduce unemployment levels in South Africa.