Government’s cannabis master plan will be presented to Nedlac by the end of May 2021, confirms Thoko Didiza, the agriculture, land reform and rural development minister.
This, as the legalisation and the commercialisation of cannabis remain at the forefront of public debate, and on top of the agenda for policymakers across the globe.
According to Didiza this is one of several master plans that her department would finalise in its endeavour to increase agricultural production.
“An inter-departmental team comprising representatives from various departments was established to guide the development of the national cannabis master plan with [the department] as the convener.”
The department will, as of October 2021, begin issuing and monitoring permits for the production of hemp in Mzansi.
Interventions to bolster production
Didiza said in order to increase local production in the sector, a combination of interventions as well as different support systems will be needed.
- increasing land under production. This will mean cultivating land that has been given to individuals and communities through government’s land reform programme and those in communal areas.
- strengthening the extension and advisory services by employing capable individual officers;
- collaborating with the private sector and individuals who are willing to be mentors as well as able to give agreements to those who produce;
- strengthening government’s agri-financial services to support production;
- improving agricultural research. The Agricultural Research Council will utilise its parliamentary grant to focus on the development of scientific solutions. This would be inclusive of the development of new technologies and crop varieties, enhancing the quantity and quality of agricultural produce, devising climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, increasing sustainability, and reducing consumer food prices.