By Patricia Kapulula
Research conducted on hemp has shown that it is economically viable to grow Industrial Hemp and to add it as one of the value chains that can respond to most of the things that are stipulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS).
Invegrow Limited, conducted research on Industrial Hemp from 2015 till now which has shown economic viability of the crop.
Invegrow Director, Nebert Nyirenda, recently told journalists under the banner of Association of Environment Journalists (AEJ) that value chains that could develop out of this country through hemp are enormous saying the crop provides a number of things vital for economic growth of the country.
According to him, the crop provides good nutrition and has got some medicinal value that could enhance people’s health as its seeds are a valuable source of healthy fats, protein and minerals.
“So combining all the properties, you will notice that the whole plant is useful economically, financially and socially hence it is one of the useful crops that have been provided for us on earth to utilise,” he said.
However, because of the way Hemp prohibitions came into effect in the 1930s, there is need to address those prohibitions so that the crop is accepted as providing a positive development to nations.
Nyirenda said there is need to undo those prohibitions which stipulated hemp as narcotic.
The Director said now countries are realising that opportunity is being missed because Industrial Hemp is a multibillion dollar industry and value chains that can create jobs, exports, health nations that could help the environment.
“So all those loses are being forgone by tackling those issues head on. Because of the positive response on research results we have had, there is need for government to look at the laws that prohibit Industrial hemp,” he said.
Nyirenda said that there is need to demystify the prohibitive mindset that people have towards Hemp and move it like any other crop such as cotton, tobacco and soya among others.
He commended government for the pace that it has taken in legalizing Industrial Hemp saying the pace is almost what the organisation expected.
Government wants to move consciously on the matter while taking into account possibilities of diversion of illicit transactions into the legalised and vice versa.
“As such conscious approach is expected and we just wait to see how things will conclude because in four years a lot of information has been gathered, a lot of issues are known with data not just emotions as such it should be easy for government to take a decision in one way or the other because data is there to support the cause,” Nyirenda said.
Invegrow supported AEJ towards its fifth Annual Assembly held in Blantyre last week.
One of the activities of the assembly was an SDG march which was done to raise awareness on the SDGs.
Nyirenda appealed to journalists in the country to help raise awareness of Industrial Hemp in order to demystify the myths towards hemp saying industrial hemp is an environmentally friendly project that needs to be harnessed.
Industrial Hemp is the non-narcotic form of Cannabis Sativa that is currently grown in over 40 countries around the world.
Invegrow Limited was founded in Malawi in 2013 and is the first company in the country to be granted authorization to conduct research trials on Industrial Hemp.