SA Growers Urged To apply For Hemp Permits

South Africa has opened applications for hemp permits to allow for the legal importation, exportation, cultivation, sale, and research of the newly declared agricultural crop.

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza announced the opening of the application process for hemp permits on Friday, 29 October 2021. 

Hemp has been declared as an agricultural crop under the Plant Improvement Act, no.53 of 1976.  

This Act provides for import and export control of certain plants and propagating material, maintaining the quality of such plants and propagating material, and ensuring the usefulness of the products thereof for agricultural and industrial purposes.

“It is important to indicate that both hemp and dagga are plants of the same genus, namely cannabis,” said Didiza. 

“However, commercial use of dagga remains prohibited in terms of Drugs & Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992.” 

The declaration of hemp as an agricultural crop now allows: importation, exportation, cultivation, sale and research of hemp in South Africa.

“This is a step towards the development of the Cannabis Master Plan, which aims to provide a broad framework for the development and growth of the South African Cannabis industry,” explained the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. 

The department said the Cannabis Master Plan aims to contribute to economic development, job creation, inclusive participation, rural development, and poverty alleviation. 

“Conservative estimates indicate that 25 000 jobs could be created across the various value chains,” said the department.

“We appreciate the fact that various rural communities and farmers across South Africa have been planting hemp for many years. 

“These farmers and traders will be prioritised to ensure that the commercialisation of hemp contributes to their socio-economic upliftment. 

“We are working with the provincial departments and national departments to ensure that adequate support is provided to producers including value addition.” 

The department urged interested growers, researchers, processors and manufacturers to apply for hemp permits.

Application forms, guidelines, requirements, and guidelines are accessible on the department’s website, www.dalrrd.gov.za