Progress Report: Hemp Cultivation in Africa

  Shale TInkler     2018-09-12   View all blog articles

The global cannabis industry is exploding in certain regions, while others remain in the starting blocks, and some haven’t even left the changerooms yet.

11 – 09 – 18

While Europe, Canada, The USA, Australia and China are leading the charge, Africa is still dragging its feet, seemingly either unaware of the huge potential that lies before us or stagnating in research in order to try get it 100% right before even beginning.

Well, sometimes that is not a good strategy as you are too busy trying to pack your bags perfectly, that you don’t realise that the ship has sailed without you…

There has been some progress though:

South Africa: The Department of Trade and Industry is going to research the potential for medical and industrial cannabis. This is great, but we don’t need more unnecessary research before starting. Yes, we can continue with participatory research as the industry develops to refine best practices, but we have been researching hemp in South Africa since 1995, and we have many other countries to learn from. Please can we not have yet another extended “feasibility study”. At least with the DTI they should soon identify the opportunities this industry would bring for trade and industry, hopefully spurring them on to help create the enabling environment we need to proceed.

The local market continues to grow with hemp products being found in mainstream stores Woolworths, Clicks, Dischem, Kauai and new hemp brands springing up and developing innovative products from clothing through to construction, but still all built on an import model.

Malawi: The hemp trials initiated by Invegrow have progressed well, and the final report is being prepared, but some legislative changes are still needed to create the framework for commercial licenses.

Lesotho: Medical Cannabis licenses have been issued with a few companies already operational while others are in the design stage.

Zimbabwe: Zim opened the door to issue licenses, then promptly shut it again when they were overwhelmed by the response from people wanting to apply. They are now rewriting regulations for medical and industrial, and we believe the process will open up again soon, just under a much more controlled and restrictive manner.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Research is ongoing into Equatorial cultivation techniques and genetics, and there has been progress with regards to the legislative change needed for commercial licenses.

We are getting enquiries from Swaziland, Mozambique, Namibia, Ghana, Botswana, even Somalia. Everyone says they are close to getting licenses to grow, but we know “close” can be very subjective in Africa. What is needed now is for our Governments to realise this ship is sailing, and we better get on board or be left on the dock wondering how we let the hemp ship sail away without us…