South Africa is dependent on hemp.
South Africa wants to become the global cannabis market leader. The prerequisites for this are favorable. Because the medicinal and industrial value of hemp plants has long been known here.
Hemp miracle plant for medicine and industry.
The reason for this is obvious, says André Botma, managing director of Medigrow. Because it is a medical product for which there must be appropriate means and precautions.
Botma notes that the market requires a high proportion of active cannabidiol (CBD) ingredients. “Our factories contain a lot of CBD and only a small amount of the intoxicating THC. We extract CBD right here on premises to achieve the best possible quality.” Medigrow products are exported to Canada. Other countries that, in theory at least, could become global producers are also watching the international market.
Shibusiso Haba is the head of the African Cannabis Advisory Group. The company offers advice and analysis. “The potential for cannabis is enormous,” says Haba. Now we need to think very carefully about how the local cannabis industry will develop.
In addition to the demanding cultivation of medical cannabis, there is also an industrially used hemp called hemp. “Its fiber can be used in 22,000 different industrial applications. It is durable and can replace plastics, textiles and materials.” Haba emphasizes that the plant also has a positive effect on the environment. “It is known that one hectare of cannabis absorbs four times more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than ordinary greens.”
A modern ventilation system blows thousands of hemp plants with a light breeze. Growing up doesn’t quite fit the accepted cliche. Because the plants are not grown secretly in illegal barns or on mountain slopes, but in 18 industrial greenhouses in Lesotho.
It is a medicinal cannabis grown in a small kingdom completely surrounded by South Africa. Only rubber gloves and protective suits are allowed to enter the greenhouses.
Good business with green gold.
Just a year ago, Zimbabwe decriminalized the cultivation of hemp and medicinal cannabis. British company Eco Equity, which specializes in selling CBD oil, has been licensed and has just harvested its first crop. This gives an idea of why people talk about “green gold”. “We are talking about 1,100 kilograms of oil that is exported to the UK,” – says the founder of the company John-Paul Doran. “Then we still have 1,300 kilograms of raw materials from our greenhouse. This is a total cost of between US $ 34 and 35 million.”
Malawi and the Kingdom of Eswatini are also in the early stages of the development of the cannabis business. The plant has traditionally been part of the culture of these countries for centuries. The climatic conditions are ideal, but the legal basis for industrial use is being created only gradually.
CBD products are ubiquitous in South Africa.
South Africa is not yet there. You can already buy hemp CBD oil all over the place: online stores, drug stores, and in-house stores. Southern Sky in Cape Town launches African Pure, which is used for sleep deprivation, muscle cramps and anxiety.
The Good Leaf brand produces wellness products. “When we started out, we wanted to create something world-class that could compete globally, but that was genuinely African,” explains Warren Shevitz. Good Leaf’s product range includes cosmetics, drops, flavors and drinks, all interspersed with African medicinal plants.
Plants such as moringa, baobab and aloe vera have been deliberately selected to complement the CBD of the hemp plant well. Because, according to Shevitz, “they all have anti-inflammatory effects that work well with CBD.” The products have been on the market since the beginning of 2019. Growth is expressed in double digits.
John Kagia of the American consulting company New Frontier Data, which specializes in the global cannabis market, also speaks of a steadily growing market. Once the foundation is in place, southern African countries have a good chance of taking the lead in the global market. “Africa and parts of Latin America are uniquely positioned to supply the world with cannabis.”
African farmers have been growing plants for centuries. In addition, Kagia is soberly calculating that labor is really cheap there. “And there are rules to ensure that hemp is up to world standards.”
Mbanje, Dagga, Weed or Chamba – cannabis has many names in southern Africa. A lot has happened since last year or is now gaining traction for the big cannabis business. Done right, this industry can be a real engine of work. It seems that the countries of southern Africa have realized this.