An Israeli company – Malawi-Israeli Gold Limited – has been in the country for the past few days and their chief focus is ascertain whether they can venture into the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp into medicinal hemp-products.
Geri Kolin, who is the company’s senior cannabis consultant, told local press that his outfit intends to open a training institution for medicinal cultivation and processing which will target local farmers in the country.
“The company’s vision is to create Africa’s first cannabis hub in Malawi,” Kolin, whose team has also met agriculture minister Lobin Lowe for license processing from the Cannabis Regulatory Authority, said.
In an interview, agriculture ministry spokesman, Grecian Lungu, said the company’s entry into the country was timely.
“[We are] optimistic that local farmers shall benefit from projects to be implemented by the company,” Lungu said.
In April, 2021 officials from the Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA) said they had issued 86 licenses to 35 companies and cooperatives to venture into cannabis cultivation for industrial hemp production, board chairperson for the Authority Boniface Kadzamira had said.
Kadzamira said that a total of 41 companies applied but only 35 companies satisfied the requirements.
He said so far, the authority has issued licenses for cultivation, processing and storage and has not yet issued any license for export.
Cannabis production is bringing hope in the economy that it will complement tobacco, the country’s main source of foreign exchange.
Figures show that over a 10-year period, earnings from tobacco have dropped by about 45 percent.
A recent analysis by Invegrow Limited, one of the firms that conducted research on industrial hemp, found that a kilogramme of industrial hemp could fetch about K32 000 on the market and that there is potential for direct annual benefit to Malawians in excess of K3 billion on 16.5 hectares or K195 million per five hectares.
The analysis further indicated that the crop has ready markets whose global value chain is worth about $9 billion (about K6. 6 trillion), giving local investors a basis to take up cannabis production.