Nqobile Tshili, business reporter
VOEDSEL Cannabis, one of 57 companies licensed to grow and process industrial cannabis on a commercial scale, says it has started producing Cannabidiol (CBD oil) from its pilot plant.
Since planting four hectares at its test plant in 2020 in Shamva, Mashonaland Central, the company has increased cannabis production to 30 hectares and has now embarked on added value.
The project director, Mr Joseph Serima, said they were using greenhouse and outdoor approaches to planting their medicinal cannabis crop.
“In our first test harvest in 2020 we planted four acres outdoors for industrial hemp, from which we extracted CBD oil and had 3,000 m2 for medicinal cannabis in greenhouses,” he said.
“This year we have done more than 30 hectares for the industrial hemp plant. We, however, this time have not put any plants in the greenhouse as we have to meet some required specifications.
“CBD is used for medicinal purposes, it is used to cure pain, arthritis, heart problems, BP and if you are addicted to alcohol, it also reduces this addiction,” Serima said.
“You can use it even when you want to lose weight. There are 20 benefits of CBD oil and now we are producing it.
So far we have gone to foreign markets but there is exploitation in the market. We want to create value to get a good price. “
Serima spoke on the sidelines of the recent goat industry conference held at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Center in Bulawayo.
He said the locals needed to innovate instead of exporting raw materials, which are only processed to resell at a higher price.
“This means encouraging innovation among us. At the moment we are only primary producers and we export everything, so it is affecting our development, ”Serima said.
“We export the primary product and import the final products, which we buy expensive but we would have produced the primary product.
“We are still conceptualizing the idea of added value; we have been penetrating external markets but there are challenges that we have been experiencing such as the necessary certification.
“It’s more expensive and we’re looking forward to promoting this industry locally because it’s a multimillion-dollar industry. It’s a lucrative industry with many uses.”
Serima said they were inspired by President Mnangagwa’s drive to get the country to adopt modern innovation and technology and said all producers should take this into account.
“Innovation is a very important step for the development of our economy and this innovation comes from cooperation.
You can’t produce something new when you operate in isolation, ”he said.
Serima said they were willing to partner with several local agents who could use some of the hemp raw materials.
He said that is why they decided to participate in the goat industry conference in Bulawayo to get involved in possible links with other farmers from different sectors considering that cannabis is a multipurpose plant.
“This hemp could be an ingredient in the production of goat feed and we want to see if we could produce vaccines that can be used in the sector,” Mr. Serima.
“There’s this seal, which is being thrown away and we can use it for other purposes instead of just collecting the seeds. We want to maximize processing and we want to see how we can better integrate to support the goat industry.” , he said. – @nqotshili