German, Swiss and Canadian companies obtain licenses in Zimbabwe

Investors from Germany, Switzerland and Canada are among those who have received cultivation and processing licenses under Zimbabwe’s cannabis program. A total of 57 licenses have been issued to foreign and local companies, the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) said this week.

The Ministry of Lands and the Zimbabwe Medicines Control Authority work with ZIDA in administering the cannabis trade and share authority for regulatory requirements.

ZIDA said some farms are already operating.

Foreign entities approved this week “own 100% of their investment,” ZIDA said in a statement on Sunday.

The government intended to run Zimbabwe’s state-owned cannabis industries when it embarked on hemp trials two years ago. He then abandoned that strategy to encourage private investment in hemp and medical marijuana, the only sub-sectors in which operators can open legal businesses under the country’s cannabis laws.

Trade tobacco for hemp

The Zimbabwean government views industrial hemp as a substitute for the country’s declining tobacco exports. Zimbabwe is Africa’s largest tobacco producer, but the country has seen this sector contract in light of global smoking cessation trends. This has contributed to the stagnation that plagued the country’s economy for nearly two decades despite the African nation’s vast natural resource wealth. Tobacco accounts for around 20% of Zimbabwe’s exports.

The government has created the Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust (ZIHT), a development initiative set up to help farmers start hemp operations and seek new export markets for their hemp productions.

The government is also making 99-year leases available on state farms to start growing cannabis. Zimbabwe harvested its first crop of legally cultivated industrial hemp in February 2019 after decriminalizing cannabis cultivation in 2018. Regulations to guide the industry were published in October 2020.