While government debates easing legislation and unlocking the potential of the cannabis industry, the Western Cape is importing more cannabis than what it exports. At the State of the Nation Address on 10 February 2022, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised that legislation would be eased for both maximum profits of cannabis production in SA and export abroad.

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture says it’s aware that right now there is a trade imbalance and there is more to unlock from the cannabis industry and that domestic supply can easily meet demand but it currently is not:

• The Western Cape province’s export of hemp fibre is mainly composed of processed true hemp.
• Exports of processed hemp show an upward trend, increasing from an export value of R166,6 thousand in 2020 to R522,4 in 2021 (or +214%).
• This growth may be supported by recent interest and support towards the cannabis industry.
• Western Cape’s exports of hemp in 2021 were mainly destined to Namibia (53%) and the United Kingdom (46%).
• The Western Cape imported hemp valued at R672 thousand in 2021 (R313 thousand – raw hemp and R359 thousand – processed hemp).
• Approximately 53% of imported hemp was from Croatia, followed by the Netherlands (39%) and China (8%)

Leslie Zetler is the co-owner of Felbridge, a cannabis cultivation business in Stellenbosch and he says that right now their main business is in Switzerland. Known for their strawberry crops, the Zetlers took an agricultural risk a few years ago and now export various cannabis products abroad.

Zetler says they have given input to government’s Cannabis Master Plan and are hopeful that in the near future the ease of doing business improves

Smile 90.4 FM News spoke to Zetler about the current cannabis market:

The Western Cape MEC for Agriculture, Ivan Meyer says his Department will now work even harder to boost and support the local cannabis industry.

Meyer this week visited the the Felbridge Cannabis Farm outside Stellenbosch.

He says the sector has enormous potential in developing SMMEs and attracting domestic and foreign investment.

The South African cannabis industry is estimated at R28-billion and can create between 10 000 to 25 000 jobs.

Meyer says the cannabis industry is global, and the Western Cape wants to create jobs in this growing industry.

Read MEC Meyer’s full statement here.

Related articles: