Article: Why Zimbabwe’s much hyped cannabis industry has lost steam.

It’s interesting that this article has dropped into the CLR inbox today as we’ve been seeing a lot of puff pieces about the Zimbabwe “market” over the lastr couple of weeks.

As they say.. A word to the wise! from Cannabis Culture website

“The over-hype over Zimbabwe as the next frontier for medicinal cannabis cultivation in Africa was not grounded in reality, but that doesn’t mean some progress hasn’t happened,” says Natalie Zhande, of the Domestic Cannabis Growers Alliance (DCBA). Zhande’s organization  is lobbying the Zimbabwe government to make sure that any foreign investor who comes in to set up hemp processing plants must cede a tiny amount of equity to women groups

In 2020, Cannabis Culture reported that medical and industrial cannabis is set to overtake tobacco as a major source of export cash by the end of 2021. Cannabis players in Zimbabwe by then, CC reported, had swarmed land, greenhouses, and harvest sheds. Firms from as far as Canada and Netherlands were partnering with locals to plant acres of weed.  But today – Zimbabwe’s cannabis industry is flattering to deceive. Local players in Zimbabwe’s cannabis industry are struggling to secure license to do business, a respected business weekly revealed. Among cannabis players, 60 cultivators have been licensed but only 12 so far are able to do business. “It’s everything – the fees to get license run into $30, 000; the processing for
cultivators looking to get licenses stretches to 14 months; the banks would rather lend to tobacco farmers and say cannabis is risky,” Natalie Zhande, tells Cannabis Culture. “Meanwhile, surprisingly, we see foreign players getting licenses fairly quickly.”

The Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency, a state body that processes licenses for foreigners wishing to enter the country’s cannabis cultivation and export industry, insists that all licenses are issued fairly for both domestic and foreign players and no favoritism takes places.

The big reason why Zimbabwe’s cannabis players are struggling to make headway is the increasing failure to conform with the EU Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards meaning, not only the EU, but deals to supply the UK public health agency and Canada’s healthcare clients too are going to waste.

“I have heard local players wishing to export cannabis complaining that the EU is strict and a high bar to satisfy,” Arnold Soko, an independent agronomist in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, tells Cannabis Culture.

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