Last year, Zimbabwe planted for the first time six varieties of European industrial cannabis on a 10-hectare plot of land at Harare Central Prison.

Preliminary results show that out of the six varieties planted, only two developed well due to the rains and high temperatures. The plants also grew and flowered faster than expected.

The crops were entrusted to the Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp Trust (ZIHT). Its founder, Dr. Zorodzai Maroveke, said they are now testing the varieties across the country.

We harvest the industrial hemp and so far we have sent tests to the University of Zimbabwe to check its chemical composition,” he explained.

So we are currently collecting data and testing the European varieties we have planted. We have since realized that three of the European varieties performed very poorly, and only two performed well.

The next phase now is to take the varieties to other parts of the country and study the varieties in different parts of the country. We are also looking forward to planting and testing native seeds from places such as Binga. We recently obtained an agreement from the government to test endemic varieties.

Dr. Maroveke said the data collected would provide vital information to investors who are rushing behind the scenes.

Testing is very important. It’s a new industry, uncharted territory. A lot of investors are interested in the value-added and local industry. Some partners are looking at small-scale farming, so there is a need for trials. But by the end of this year, we will be doing commercial trials, he said.

Zimbabwe has also approved 37 applications for licenses to produce cannabis for medical or scientific purposes.

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