Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe has said Malawi is strategising on how best Indian hemp, locally known as chamba, can be used instead of destroying it.
Speaking during a press conference in Lilongwe last week, the minister expressed concern that local hemp was being impounded and burnt when the variety could help generate revenue for the economy.
He said the ministry was working to ensure that the local hemp is prioritised and promoted just like the foreign varieties that have been legalised in the country and are being cultivated.
“As a ministry, we are doing all what we can do to ensure that our variety, the Malawian gold is also included,” said Lowe.
The minister’s position is in line with Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA) and the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Food Security which have been lobbying for decriminalisation of local cannabis.
Last year, CRA issued a licence to carry out research on the local hemp.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, agriculture policy expert Tamani Nkhono Mvula said the local hemp has the potential to provide a financial boost for the country.
But he said before the country can legalise production and selling of the local hemp, there is need to put in place controls so that people do not take advantage of production to smoke the hemp.
Mvula said: “There are social and health consequences attached to legalisation of the local hemp. As much as the money is there, we need to look at the consequences. There is need for strict controls so that the youth or other members of society do not consume [smoke] it.”
Malawi legalised production of industrial hemp.