Zimbabwe President Commissions Multi-Million Cannabis Facility

Stephen Andrews
16 May 2022

The President of Zimambe has just commissioned a $27 million medical cannabis farm and processing facility set up by a Swiss investor. The move may herald a new era for the cannabis sector in the African country, where dagga or mbanje as weed is locally known, is increasingly seen as a new cash crop. Officials hope that cannabis substitutes for tobacco, currently the country's primary source of foreign currency.

Zimbabwe's President Mnangagwa has commissioned the medical cannabis operator at Mount Hampden in the country's West Province. The farm and processing facility is set up by Swiss Biocieuticals Limited, which specializes in high-grade medical cannabinoids, including CBD, CBG, CBN, and THCV (aka diet weed). 

The president reportedly visited the farm on Wednesday, May 11, where he gave a speech in which he encouraged other license-holding investors to speed up operations and set up their businesses in the country.

The Mount Hampden multi-million facility is fitted with the latest technology to produce premium cannabis oil and other medical-grade products for both the local and international markets. Its license holder is one of only 15 currently operational entities in Zimbabwe. 

According to Business Insider Africa, the president said the facility adds significant value to the cannabis crop. He also praised his government's engagement policy, and the confidence Swiss companies and investors had in Zimbabwe and its economy. 

"I extend my profound congratulations to the Swiss Biocieuticals Limited for this timely investment in the medicinal cannabis farm, processing plant and value chain, worth US$27 million," the president said.

He added: "I challenge other players within the medicinal cannabis sub-sector to speedily set up their enterprises, focusing on value addition and beneficiation."

Since 2018, Zimbabwe has issued a total of 57 cannabis operating licenses. The realization that only 15 have been made operational was highlighted in Mnangagwa's speech and was described as "disappointing."

Zimbabwe is among dozen of African countries that have upgraded their cannabis legislation in recent years, alongside Lesotho, Morocco, South Africa, Nigeria, Malawi, Ghana, Zambia, and Eswatini. Most of these countries see cannabis as a substitute commodity for tobacco, the production of which is gradually subduing. 

The legal cannabis sector in Africa is projected to hit over $7.1 billion by 2023. Zimbabwe's Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube, has previously pledged that he wants his country's cannabis sector to reach at least $1 billion worth by 2028.

Stephen Andrews