Zimbabwe: The medical cannabis cultivation program (finally) launched?

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The government of Zimbabwe has granted 57 licenses to cultivate cannabis for medical purposes. This announcement therefore marks the official start of this program, which began almost a year ago. Among the 57 licensees, there are Zimbabwean companies, but also foreign ones. German, Swiss or Canadian producers have invested there, without knowing which ones.

Applying for a license costs US $ 11,200, then US $ 46,000 if obtained. An unexpected financial windfall for a country sorely lacking in cash.

“Production has started in Shamva, Mt Hampden, Mazowe, Stappleford, Broomley, Bulawayo, Kadoma and Harare. Companies own 100% of their investments ”, proudly announce the Zimbabwe Investment & Development Agency (ZIDA) in a press release.

The government is trying here to reassure and attract new investors. Indeed, just a few months ago, the executive planned to acquire a stake in each cannabis operation. An idea that sent a (very) bad signal to foreign companies, especially Western ones. The executive therefore backtracked, and now leaves “100% of their investments To entrepreneurs.

No exports for three years

On closer inspection, this program seems to be turning sour. Indeed, from 2019, Newsweed reported that the government had granted 37 licenses to produce medical cannabis on Zimbabwean soil. What happened to these licenses today? Hard to say. In any case, no export of cannabis has been recorded since, notes the US news agency Bloomberg.

The government’s goal of exporting $ 1.25 billion worth of cannabis in 2021 therefore seems a long way off. Moreover, this figure has never been taken seriously by financial analysts, as the country has been entangled in an economic crisis for twenty years and undermined by corruption.

The only joy for the country: industrial hemp. “We managed to send three tonnes of hemp to Switzerland”, announces Doctor Zorodzai Maroveke. Special feature of this harvest: it was produced in the prison of Harare, the Zimbabwean capital.

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