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Monday, July 15, 2024

Medicinal Cannabis stakeholder source for investors

Story by Memory Chamisa

REGULATORS and stakeholders in the medicinal hemp industry are sourcing for investors to assist in setting up critical infrastructure that will enable testing and processing of the commodity locally.

The Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ),this Friday met with various stakeholders in the medicinal cannabis sector to discuss challenges facing the emerging industry.

Since it’s legalisation in Zimbabwe 2018, more than 50 licences have been issued, but less than 10 licence holders are in production.

The absence of testing laboratories is cited among some of the pull factors to this slow mode in the industry.

Medicines Control Association of Zimbabwe Director General Mr Richard Rukwata and Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Head of Research and Innovation Dr Raban Masuka highlighted the significance of promoting the sector for sound investments.

“The production of medicinal cannabis is mainly for export.Zimbabwe was one of the first countries to come up with legislation governing the production of medicinal cannabis, but things have changed in the past five years. Now we are competing with other countries like South Africa,Malawi, Zambia and we may need to shift our perspective to see how we stand in terms of attracting investors,” said Rukwata.

“Zimbabwe already has an advantage of good climatic conditions in terms of production, but the biggest challenge is on the testing of our product. Zimbabwe is one of the lowest cost producing countries in the world and we believe that is is going to be our greatest advantage in the long term as we will be able to produce at a cost that most competing countries will not be able to. The issue of laboratories also is one that needs to be investigated to ensure there is value addition to the product,” noted Dr Masuka.

The country opened up to allow hemp-based products to be sold as part of complementary medicines given to patients.

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