Cannabis farmer Barry Zetler makes a point to Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer inside the cannabis drying area during a visit to the Felbridge cannabis farm outside Stellenbosch. Picture Supplied
Cannabis farmer Barry Zetler makes a point to Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer inside the cannabis drying area during a visit to the Felbridge cannabis farm outside Stellenbosch. Picture Supplied

High hopes cannabis industry can boost Western Cape’s economic recovery

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Oct 1, 2021

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Cape Town - There are high expectations from the provincial department of agriculture that the Western Cape can set itself up as a value chain hub of cannabis production in a bid to aid economic recovery.

Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer said that the province aims to create jobs in the R28 billion cannabis industry during a visit to the Felbridge cannabis farm outside Stellenbosch.

“The cannabis sector has enormous potential in developing SMMEs, attracting domestic and foreign investment, and adding value in the processing and manufacturing of various products for local and export markets.

“This is why we look forward to engaging with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development’s (DALRRD) cannabis master plan.

“By doing so, the Western Cape can contribute to strengthening critical aspects of the Plan, such as developing sustainable seed supply systems and supporting those who want to enter the industry,” said Meyer.

He said a value chain approach in developing the cannabis industry has the potential for income generation, job creation and skills development and will also lead to diversification of the economy and thus increase economic growth and alleviate poverty.

When the DALRRD presented its cannabis master plan to parliament in August, Minister Thoko Didiza said her department estimated that the cannabis industry in South Africa could create anywhere between 10 000 to 25 000 jobs across the sector.

Meanwhile, the Land Party manifesto for the local government elections pledged that if the party won, all South Africans would be encouraged to grow cannabis and hemp and manufacture hemp products.

The pledge is contained in one of the key elements of the manifesto with regards to the economy.

Other proposals include that fishing be made compulsory in fishing communities so that it serves as a source of food, making a living, and boost community development.

The party is also calling for the decriminalisation of abalone poaching in order to make abalone a source of wealth for communities.

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