President Peter Mutharika has approved cultivation of industrial hemp for trial purposes in the country, according to Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza.
Chiyembekeza said in an interview that following the approval, processes for the same started last month for growing of industrial hemp.
The minister said: “Let me point out that industrial hemp is different from the much talked Indian hemp [chamba or Cannabis Sativa] that is prohibited. This [industrial] hemp does not contain the psychoactive chemical elements that affect people when smoked even though it is from the same family of crops.”
Chiyembekeza said if the trials are successful, this could be an opportunity for diversifying the economy and widening the sources of foreign exchange earnings. He said the crop could also support the National Export Strategy (NES).
Introducing her company yesterday at a function hosted by British High Commission in Lilongwe, Invegro Hemp Power Malawi founder Tanya Clerk said her firm is excited with the President’s nod to the trial of industrial hemp.
She said industrial hemp is a crop with extremely exciting economic potential and could support the NES of oil seed cluster in Malawi.
Clerk said Chitedze Research Station in Lilongwe is set to carry out the trials .Industrial hemp is currently grown in 36 countries, including United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Russia and China.
In Malawi, there have been several calls to grow industrial hemp with some even suggesting that the illegal Indian hemp be formally exported to diversify foreign exchange earnings.