Sunday Mail Reporter
FIFTY-SEVEN medicinal cannabis producers have been licensed by the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA), as the country continues to expand investment into the multibillion-dollar industry.
Several local companies and foreign investors from Germany, Switzerland and Canada have already started production in Harare, Bulawayo, Shamva and Kadoma.
In a statement, ZIDA said: “We have licensed 57 investors for medicinal cannabis production from Germany, Switzerland, Canada as well as some local players.
“Production has begun in Shamva, Mt Hampden, Mazowe, Stappleford, Broomley, Bulawayo, Kadoma and Harare.
“Companies have been licensed for cultivation and processing of medical cannabis and they own 100 percent of their investments.
“The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement is working closely with ZIDA and the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) in ensuring that the quality of the seeds imported meet regulatory requirements.”
Cannabis production was legalised in 2018 for medicinal and scientific use only.
It is used by leading pharmaceutical companies around the world in the manufacturing drugs.
While the country has not yet begun exporting medicinal cannabis, some players in the industrial hemp sector recently exported their first crop to Switzerland.
Industrial hemp is produced from a cannabis plant species known as the Cannabis Sativa and is used to make a variety of industrial and consumer products.
Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust (ZIHT) founder Dr Zorodzai Maroveke said: “From the Headlands pilot project, we have managed to export three tonnes of industrial hemp to the Switzerland market.
“We would like to applaud all the stakeholders that we have been working with such as the Tobacco Research Board (TRB), Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) and the Ministry of Agriculture for their assistance.”
Last year, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the industry could generate significant amounts of foreign currency.
“Cannabis production has immense potential to generate export receipts and tax revenues. The potential value of cannabis exports for medicinal purposes is estimated at about US$1,25 billion for the year 2021,” he said.
“In recognition of the immense benefits that can accrue to the country from cannabis exports, the Government promulgated legislation to govern the production, procurement, possession, sale, provision and transportation of the crop.”
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