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Zimbabwe’s Hemp Revolution: A Call to Arms for Value Addition

Zimbabwe is poised to emerge as a regional leader in industrial hemp production, with a notable surge in registered players along the value chain, according to a recent Industrial Hemp Overview report by the Agricultural Marketing Authority (Ama). The number of registered industrial hemp players has witnessed a substantial increase over the past three seasons, indicating a growing interest in this transformative sector. As the nation sets its sights on becoming a powerhouse in industrial hemp and related products, the call to action resonates loud and clear: pursue value addition.

Rapid Growth in Hemp Industry:

The report highlights a remarkable progression in Zimbabwe’s industrial hemp landscape. From 21 registered players in the 2020/21 farming season, the number surged to 42 the following year, and further increased to an impressive 61 in the 2022/23 season. This surge signifies a burgeoning interest and confidence in the potential of industrial hemp as a key player in Zimbabwe’s agricultural evolution.

Unlocking Potential Through Value Addition:

Clever Isaya, CEO of Ama, emphasizes that while the increased number of players is promising, the true potential lies in engaging in value addition. He underscores the importance of strategic partnerships and value addition to propel Zimbabwe into a competitive position in industrial hemp production and related products. Isaya urges local players to harness the global interest in the sector for shared prosperity among citizens.

African Medical Cannabis Biotech Leading the Way:

In alignment with the government’s focus on value addition, African Medical Cannabis Biotech, a local company, is already making strides in extracting hemp oil from the plant. Munyaradzi Chedondo, the marketing director, encourages local players to explore diverse opportunities in value addition, citing product development, especially in cosmetics and supplements, as lucrative markets. Chedondo emphasizes the need for local players to diversify and innovate to maximize the benefits of industrial hemp.

Challenges and Opportunities:

While the sector shows promise, challenges such as the unavailability of seed varieties suitable for Zimbabwe’s climatic conditions, the absence of internationally certified testing centers, and a guaranteed local market are still prevalent. However, despite these challenges, local players are exploring export markets, with CBD flower exports to Switzerland and Poland gaining momentum. Ama’s partnership with Plantiqua Hemp in Poland has created a bridge to international markets, showcasing the potential for collaboration on a global scale.

Legal Framework and Economic Impact:

The production and marketing of industrial hemp in Zimbabwe were legalized through Statutory Instrument 218 of 2020 Agricultural Marketing Authority (Industrial Hemp) Regulations. As the hemp industry gains momentum, it contributes significantly to Zimbabwe’s economic growth, with the agricultural sector now surpassing the targeted US$8.2 billion economy for 2025 and contributing over 12% to the country’s GDP.

Zimbabwe’s journey into the industrial hemp frontier is marked by unprecedented growth and potential. The call to pursue value addition is not just a strategic move; it’s a rallying cry for local players to unlock the full spectrum of opportunities within this burgeoning industry. As Zimbabwe positions itself to be a regional powerhouse in industrial hemp, the path to success lies in innovation, collaboration, and a relentless pursuit of value addition for a prosperous future.

Original Article written By Garikai Tunhira