Regarding Hemp cultivation in the Garden Route & Western Cape
We are certainly pro hemp for many areas in South Africa, but completely opposed to Hemp farming in the Western Cape, and especially in the Garden Route region, due to -
1. Cross pollination by Hemp males, with all other community cultivation efforts (within 7 kilometres) , and with our indigineous landrace species of Cannabis, that have shown to have specific Medicinal value by the University of the Free State.
2. Hemp does not do well in our climate, specifically with humidity, soil & winter rain.
3. Hemp is a large scale, low value operation that requires alot of mechanization, both for cultivation & processing.
4. We want small scale, high value options that require hand crafts for our special region and it’s unique climate, such as : Avos, nuts, grapes, Cannabis, honeybush tea & locally ocurring traditional medicinal herbs.
5. The above high value produce to be produced by a multi-disciplinary processing & testing hub as per government master plan.
6. In terms of high value recreational & medicinal Cannabis cultivation (as opposed to Hemp cultivation), there is no other place in the world that can compete with the Garden Route i.t.o. Organic Outdoor Cannabis Cultivation of export quality since:
a. The Garden Route has the second most moderate climate in the world (second only to Hawai - which has terrible soil). With more than 200 sunny days per year, allowing the opportunity for multiple high quality harvests.
b. Sub-tropical region with winter and summer rain.
c. Loads of organic living soil locally available.
d. Skilled human & other resources, and materials locally available.
e. Lots of employable local people.
f. It’s a coastal region with good infrastructure.
7. For the above reasons two large scale commercial operations are currently being established in the greater Bitou municipal region, and at least 3 other in the greater Eden District.
8. It is therefore imperative that mechanisms should be implemented to ensure that the local communities are not excluded from these opportunities or that such GMP facilities adhere to their export agreements and do not enter & thereby saturate the local market, which would exclude all other small operations.