Malawian President, Lazarus Chakwera has announced plans to switch to the large scale planting and exportation of Cannabis. This is due to the fact that demand for Tobacco, which is the country’s lead foreign exchange earner, has declined globally.
In a recent address to the nation, President Chakwera pointed out that the estimated revenue for Tobacco will fall below $200 in the year 2021 as compared to the over $350 million which the country was earning in the past.
“The inconvenient truth … is that while Malawi has come a long way by relying on tobacco as our … largest single crop contributor to our GDP, this reliance is now seriously threatened by declining demand worldwide”. The President said.
He further added that, “clearly we need to diversify and grow other crops like cannabis, which was legalized last year for industrial and medicinal use.”
Part of the plan as revealed by President Chakwera is to task the agriculture ministry to “search for a basket of alternative crops so that by 2030, Malawi can do away with its reliance on tobacco.”
Malawi joined the likes of Zambia, Lesotho, Ghana and other African countries following the passing of a bill In February last year which legalises the cultivation and processing of cannabis for medicinal and hemp fibre used in industry.
Moreover, neighbouring country, Zimbabwe which hitherto restricted the production of Cannabis has finally decided to ease its laws. On Wednesday, the government changed its regulations on cannabis to encourage investment in the sector to increase the country’s foreign exchange.
Initially, investors interested in Cannabis were only allowed to partner with the government with production also restricted to certain areas only. However, the new legal amendments will decentralize the production to take place everywhere in Zimbabwe and also allow investors to own cannabis businesses.