Hemp Cultivation in South Africa

The situation in South Africa:

Industrial Hemp Making Strides in South Africa

Troy Dayton

This week, industrial hemp supporters won major victories in three different parts of the world.  The Rand Corporation pledged 25 million dollars for a five year project to develop a strong South African Hemp industry, Gov. Ben Cayetano, governor of Hawaii, came out in favor of industrial hemp, and a North Dakota State University (NDSU) study says industrial hemp has great potential and should be grown in the U.S.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald asked candidates to give their positions on a number of issues for its election guide.  Cayetano went as far as to tell the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, "I wear occasionally a product made of hemp."  "Hawaii is in a severe economic slump.  Industrial hemp can provide a viable substitute for failing crops," said Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R-Kenoehe) "I believe Governor Cayetano is the first governor in the nation to support it and we are delighted.  Now, it's time for the federal government to get out of the way and let our state farmers make money again," Thielen told The Week Online.

David Kraenzel, of the NDSU agriculture economics department, presented his study to the legislative Interim Commerce and Agricultural Committee last Thursday at the State Capitol.  The Bismarck Tribune reported a favorable reception to the idea of allowing hemp cultivation by the committee.  Since Canada has recently legalized industrial hemp, Tim Petry of NDSU believes progress will be easier in a year when there is better data available.

Businesses seem very interested in getting involved with South African Hemp.  James Wynn of the South African Hemp Company (SAHC) told Engineering News that "Demand for hemp products worldwide has increased by 233% over the past two years."  Unfortunately there are some legislative hurdles that may impede the viability of this plan.  The Department of Health must issue permits for growing hemp.  But, it only meets once every six weeks and hemp permits are often pushed aside for more pressing matters of business.  "A whole season can be missed because it takes months before a permit is cleared," said Wynn.

Chris Conrad, president of the Business Alliance for Commercial Hemp, told the Week Online that Canada has "set the tone for competition."  "The developments of this past week are a good example of how economics and science are slowly but surely taking precedence over the politics of marijuana," said Conrad.

The office of National Drug Control Policy has a very different view of industrial hemp.  Its official statement on the subject says that "legalizing hemp would send a confusing message to our youth... and may lead to de facto legalization of marijuana cultivation."  The statement goes on to say that the "production of hemp appears to offer no relief to farmers or manufacturers of textiles or paper as an alternative crop or product."

Check this out: http://www.mg.co.za/mg/news/98mar1/06mar-dagga.html

Some e-mails from SA:

From:Patrizia patrizia@icon.co.za
To: Matthew@HempWorld.com
Subject: How to introduce Hemp in SA
Date: Tuesday, February 2, 1999


I arrived at your site through some links about Hemp, and, being very concerned about the destruction of the planet's natural resources,  I am very interested in learning more. 

I live in Durban, South Africa, which is located on the east coast on the warm Indian Ocean.  Durban is in a region called Kwazulu-Natal known for its lushness, greenness, forests and rolling hills.  It is the centre of the sugar-cane and paper-producing industry.  It is also well-known for the rampant supply of marijuana (also called Durban Poison).  Illegal marijuana farming is the 3rd largest cash crop of South Africa, providing a large portion of the (mostly-illiterate) Kwazulu rural population with a living which would probably not be supplied in any other way.

Naturally, the cultivation and supply of marijuana is illegal and until the new government is 'educated' in the matter of industrial hemp-farming (lumping it together with the psychoactive marijuana), even non-psychoactive hemp will remain an illegal crop.  I don't know at what point lobbying for the legalisation of hemp is at this stage in South Africa (if at any), but I will duly find out. 

Kwazulu-Natal has the potential to become a huge producer of hemp, having, besides the very suitable climate, an informal farming network infrastructure in place.  There are scores of informal small farmers that grow either sugar-cane (legally) or marijuana (illegally), and either way are probably being ripped off by the people they supply.  Hemp cultivation could become a legal, profitable form of sustainable income, benefiting everyone involved, including the government AND at the same time helping to save our natural resources from destruction.

I would therefore appreciate ANY information you may have on government lobbying e.g. what sort of information they would require, what are the probable obstacles etc etc.

Thanks for the informative web-site.
Kind regards

Patrizia Mariani
Durban, South Africa

From: KUNENE THANDEKA F909198@Richmond.ac.uk
To: Matthew@HempWorld.com
Subject: Ancient Hemp
Date: Thursday, September 10, 1998 8:02 AM

I have been browsing your website and I found a number of interesting material there. keep up the good work.

I thought I might let you know about Ancient Hemp, from what I know Ancient Hemp is the first African owned South African company that is focusing on hemp production. Ancient Hemp is in its embryonic stages and we would appreciate any help or information on buying seed for farming, and on anyone interested in purchasing our products.

We aim to specialize on local communities growing hemp for development and economic independence and producing hemp products that have been added South African value, like Xhosa Umbaco done on hemp fabric.

We plan to launch in February 1999 and would like to be in touch with anyone who may be interested in either investing or working with Ancient Hemp.


Thandeka Kunene

From: Patti rolt@iafrica.com
To: Matthew@HempWorld.com
Date: Sunday, March 01, 1998 12:34 PM


With regards to your e-mail, I was wondering if you had previously received the following e-mail. My name is Jean (Patti is the person who's computer I am using). I will be send a more detailed proposal shortly. Please reply ASAP.


Hemp-Seed Development Project

South Africa is highly acclaimed amongst liberal European communities as possessing some of the highest quality naturally occurring hemp strains on the globe. Most of the hemp in S.A is of the Sativa family and naturally ideal for high fiber yield as opposed to the high THC yielding Indicas. In Holland , Durban Poison, Swazi and Malawi are sold for around 25fl ( R60 ) for 3 grams of unfertilized female flowers and the seeds are sold at around 120fl (R300) for 20 seeds. The local hybrids sell at roughly the same price, so one would imagine , professionally scientifically enhanced versions of our vast variety of strains should prove highly valuable to such communities abroad as well as those looking for low ( less than 0.3% ) THC strains for the industry ( 25 countries with the go ahead , 6 including us at the experimental stage) . With the world moving rapidly toward the environment friendly hemp movement every day, S.A. harbors optimum growing conditions and the hemp industry could prove a significant economy boost.

My aim is to take naturally existing hemp strains and breed them into strains pre-eminent in consistency to perform under the strenuous standards of the cultivars abroad. 3 groups of strains should emerge which can be utilized for: 1. Fiber production ( textile industry ) 2. Maximum seed yield ( nutritional , environmental and economist fronts ) 3. Chemically Constituent ( medical and recreational fields )

I propose that the income of such a seed bank is ideal for further medical studies that the government is worried about risking already scarce funds on, but could prove priceless due to the recent light on cannabis receptor sites in the body and brain.

My question is: Why do we have these CB1 and CB2 receptor sites?

Jean Van Iddekinge

(Alternate e-mail: tintempl@iafrica.com)

From: Paul Cohen vildev@iafrica.com
To: Matthew@HempWorld.com
Subject: Dagga Tannie
Date: Friday, November 28, 1997 10:02 AM

Hey Matthew,

I don't know if you have a copy of this yet. I sent a copy to the Ohio Hempery, and one to Irie Hemp here in South Africa last week. I will try to send you more as time permits. Keep up the good work. Speak to you soon.

James Wynn SAHC

From: "Karl P. Lang" organisers@sadcexpo.org
Subject: hemp growing project sa
To: Matthew@HempWorld.com
CC: karll@acenet.co.za

Dear Matthijs

I found your site interesting and informative.

I am researching hemp growing projects in other parts of the world to support an initiative to initiate the possibility of hemp production in South Africa.

Key areas of focus are;

If you are able to assist please contact me. I believe we could possibly purchase your seed in the near future to support ( initiate) a trial growing project in South Africa.

kind regards

Karl Lang

From: manoim@is.co.za (Irwin Manoim)
Mon 5:29 Subject:
South African sources on hemp

More stuff on "dagga" (hemp) on our site at:
Dagga: The crop that clothes the poor clothes the poor”
http://www.mg.co.za./mg/news/97jul2/28jul-dagga1.html (three linked articles)

More in the series to follow in the next few days ...

Regards, Irwin Manoim

From: BlueOrb@webtv.net (Mary Savage)
Tue 11:25 Subject: Mail&Guardian: “50 000 uses for a weed

More: State probe into legalizing dagga

Information on SA or South Africa/Suid Africa from Paul Cohen. HCF is posting this information on the SAHC awaiting more information from the field.

Southern Africa Hemp Company

The Southern Africa Hemp Company was formed in South Africa in 1993 to promote a hemp commerce industry in South Africa. SAHC has invested time and resources towards moving into a position to advise and lead the development of this crop in South Africa. SAHC has conducted extensive research on this topic, and has the largest library of hemp resources on the continent SAHC directors have traveled to Europe and North America on multiple occasions to collect relevant information, and to conduct interviews with key people in the industry.

SAHC is currently funding research into the viability and production parameters for this crop in South Africa. This research is being conducted in partnership with the Agricultural Research Council's Tobacco and Cotton Research Institute (TCRI), outside Rustenburg in the North West Province. Permits for this program are being obtained from the Department of Health.

The first research program was conducted in the 1995/6 season and is documented in a report by the TCRI called 'Response of Hemp Varieties to Cultivation Practices in South Africa'. Do you know of anybody that could help in setting up a web page for South Africa? More to follow.” Regards Paul

Do you know more about this? e-mail us at Matthew@HempWorld.com

Hemp facts and links related to South Africa:

Do you know more about this? e-mail us at Matthew@HempWorld.com

*Industrial-Hemp has no psychoactive properties following definition of the European Economic Community (EEC); THC content is less than 0.3%. In general, low THC-seed varieties without psychoactive properties are those that have a THC content of less than 1%. (See also No-THC Hemp-seed.) THC= Delta-9 TetraHydroCannabinol.