Parliament, Thursday, 31 March 2022 – The Eastern Cape Province’s permanent delegates to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) together with their counterparts, Members of the Eastern Cape Legislature, visited cannabis farming projects and community business cooperatives in the Alfred Nzo and OR Tambo Districts to assess their development.
The cannabis farming projects that are based in the Alfred Nzo District and that were visited, include Sgidi Development Project, Tashe Cannabis Project and Ndwendwe Farming Cooperative. The delegation also visited a cannabis crop production farm which is based in the OR Tambo District and had an engagement with Port St Johns’ Bulawu Village’s historical and aspiring cannabis growers.
With an exception of one OR Tambo based cannabis farm where cannabis plants are growing under quality and reliable protection of strong tunnels and the supervision of knowledgeable cannabis farmers, in all the cannabis projects the committee heard similar challenges that stifle the development of the new cannabis development projects. The challenges include unaffordable permit fee, harassment by police against illegal traders and production equipment that include tunnels and fertilisers, and training.
The cannabis farmers told the delegates that they are certain about trading potential of cannabis and hemp in the OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo Districts. The cannabis and hemp farmers who regard cannabis and hemp as the green gold of both districts, expressed their optimism about the success of the cannabis and hemp industry. The farmers and residents called upon the delegation to ensure that there is legislation in place that legalises and promotes commercialisation of cannabis in their districts.
The officials of the Eastern Cape Provincial Government’s Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, assured cannabis farmers and the residents at large that there are plans and strategies in place for the empowerment of the people who have an interest in the cannabis and hemp industry. The officials said the plans include the availability of arable and fertile land, securing of partnerships with the private sector and training.
The officials also informed the delegation that the department has allocated R10 million in the current financial year for the empowerment of the cannabis and hemp farmers. The officials said the department is going to train 28 cannabis farmers who will assist in laying the foundation of the industrialisation of cannabis and hemp in the Eastern Cape.
ISSUED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE LEADER OF THE NCOP EASTERN CAPE DELEGATION, MS NOKUZOLA NDONGENI.
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