Can Hemp be Grown in South Africa?

Learn about growing hemp in South Africa, including what permits are needed, what varieties are available, and how to prepare your seedbed.

Can Hemp be Grown in South Africa?

With the declaration of hemp as an agricultural crop, the import, export, cultivation, sale and research of hemp is now allowed in South Africa. A permit from the Department of Agriculture is required to build a nursery and propagate, export and sell hemp seeds and plants under the Plant Improvement Act (PIA). Obtaining licenses to grow, manufacture or import cannabis in South Africa requires more than 25,000 rands a year. It is important to partner with a marketing agency that understands the legalities involved in advertising CBD and hemp products in South Africa.

This is a common misconception and it's essential to remember that hemp and marijuana are not the same. Hemp seeds are gluten-free and contain 20-25% protein and 25-35% oil. While Ferreira will focus on hemp as a food crop, the fiber from the plant can be used to make items such as hemp bricks for construction.

Industrial hemp

is related to psychotropic dagga (marijuana), but it is cultivated differently.

Creating a suitable seedbed is essential; it should be firm and fine for planting hemp seeds between 2-3 cm deep. After extracting hemp seed oil, the remaining oil mass containing 15-20% digestible proteins can be ground into powder for use in food products. Hemp producers in South Africa need a special permit to import seeds as they are considered a “controlled substance”. Tests are being conducted with hemp oil seed cultivars to estimate the cost of a liter of hemp oil.

Trials have been important for learning how to achieve economies of scale, evaluate different varieties and learn how to grow hemp as an agricultural crop. Although the government has not yet realized the economic value of hemp or facilitated the growth of the local industry, it seems safe to say that the versatility of hemp will guarantee its organic growth in demand and supply. The South African government has been widely criticized for its management of policies, permits and processes related to cannabis. Hemp is sensitive to frost during germination and requires water for the first six weeks after planting.

The application forms for licenses can be obtained from the offices of the South African Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) at a cost of 902 rands (201 dollars).