The cultivation of industrial hemp is the new baby in the farming sector which is indeed fertile soil for investment purposes especially in Zimbabwe which has a thriving agricultural industry. Before undertaking on this investment venture, it is vital for one to be cognizant to all the procedures and pre-requisites needed for the farming of industrial hemp. The writer who is a farmer as well, interviewed the renowned hemp farmer Mr Kim Birketoft who emphasized the need for extensive awareness in hemp farming which comes with its challenges as a teething crop.
In Zimbabwe the Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA) is the body that regulates marketing and production of Agricultural products. In September 2020, Statutory Instrument 218/2020 Agriculture Marketing Authority (Industrial Hemp) Regulations was enacted by the AMA. This statutory provision governs amongst other activities the production, procurement and exportation of hemp. Some of the critical pre-requisites are set out hereunder.
1. The Permit
In order to cultivate, possess, sell and supply industrial hemp a permit is required. These permits are issued by AMA on application by the party wishing to farm hemp.
It is vital for a party to adhere to the regulations as set out by the Authority to ensure that the appropriate quality product is obtained for the intended use. This will inturn yield a bounty harvest and worthwhile investment.
2. The premises
According to Section 14(1) (a) of Statutory Instrument 218 of 2020 the farming of Industrial Hemp can only be done at premises identified in the permit or indicated by the Authority.
The holder of the permit is required to cultivate on an area not less than one hectare in size.
3. Exportation of Industrial hemp
Before stepping into the exportation of industrial hemp, it is critical to note that the permit that is granted initially only applies to merchandising industrial hemp and not exportation out of Zimbabwe. The following are the requirements for exportation:
- Registration with AMA as either a producer, researcher or merchant
- A support letter issued by AMA is thereafter submitted to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, water and Rural Resettlement and thereafter
- A license from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, water and rural resettlement is granted unless there are other administrative issues that arise.
Furthermore in terms of Section 32 Statutory Instrument 218/2020 Agriculture Marketing Authority (Industrial Hemp) Regulations, an individual who wishes to export should pay the fees prescribed by the AMA for exportation purposes. Moreover the party should make an application to the AMA in terms of Section 44 of the Dangerous Drugs regulations 1975. The farmer should ensure that they have in their possession, a copy of the import permit issued by the Authority in the country that they intend to export to. This is to ensure that the country the individual intends to export to approves of such importation.
Finally, the cultivation and export of industrial hemp is indeed a rewarding investment which more Zimbabwean farmers should embark on. To ensure successful investment and quality production, adherence to the stringent procedures set out by the AMA is vital.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.