Legal hemp can boost Malawi economy – Experts

University of Malawi economic professor based at Chancellor College in eastern city of Zomba, Ben Kalua has called for the de-politicization of production of Cannabis – locally known as Chamba- saying said industrial Hemp has the potential to steer the country’s economy towards recovery.

A presenter showing hemp products
A presenter showing hemp products

He was speaking during a seminar organized by Kemet Forum at Chancellor College under the theme ‘Demystifying Cannabis’.

In his presentation Professor Kalua said the ban on Cannabis during the colonial days was purely political aimed at protecting the colonialists economic interests.

Kalua argued that research has shown that the gains outweigh the negatives in as far as production of this plant is concerned.

He said in the case of Cannabis which is used for smoking, there is a lot of research that has shown a lot of medicinal benefits from the plant.

The recent research which was led by Dr Yankel Gabet of Tel Aviv University, revealed that   Cannabis could be used in medicinal form to speed up the healing of broken bones.

Cannabis reportedly has a number of health benefits. A 2014 study found that THC reduced tumour growth in an aggressive strain of brain cancer within mice with virtually no psychotropic side-effects

Kalua said the misconception comes when the two are put together saying the hemp under discussion is not for smoking but for industrial purpose.

The Professor said smoking is a choice.

“Tobacco and alcohol are legal, why is that some do not smoke,” queried Kalua.

He asked government to give it a 5 year trial period of uncontrolled production of all the varieties and monitor the direction.

Ntchisi North Member of Parliament Boniface Kadzamira who raised the issue during the last sitting of parliament said time has come for Malawi to wake up and reap from its resources.

“What is honourable when people you represent are denied clear vibrant economic activities in favour of a century old falsehood and manipulated beliefs and legislation,” asked Kadzamira.

He said as a country it is high time Malawi started thinking outside the box and come up with alternative innovations that would boost the country’s revenue base.

Kadzamira said the country’s lack of progress is not due to lack of better ideas or alternatives but due to what he called a deliberate refusal to correct weak spots in the system.

He disclosed that the issue of Hemp has been in corridors of government for the last two years where an agreement was reached to offer license for trials to a certain company but wondered that when he introduced the subject in parliament the system feigned ignorance.

Kadzamira queried the secrecy, saying a transparent and accountable government could have informed the public on what is going on concerning the issue of industrial hemp in Malawi.

The MP said thousands of research has proved that hemp is not a drug but an agricultural cash crop with enormous economic potential capable of producing significant quantities of paper, building materials, sacks, medicines, paint, detergents, vanish, oils, ink, fuels, fabric and textiles, carpeting, biodegradable plastics, jewelry, auto parts, lubricants, beverages, nutritional foods and other things.

On fears that hemp smoking triggers madness, Kadzamira said the type of hemp being advocated for is industrial hemp which is used for manufacturing various things as mentioned above.

He said this hemp has little percentages of THC, a substance responsible for getting high in normal cannabis.

Kadzamira said this hemp is cultivated for its fiber, seeds and medicinal properties adding that it is very different from the smoking hemp.

The parliamentarian said for one to get the satisfaction of getting high they would need to smoke a cigarette the size of an electric pole.

The parliamentarian said apart from its economical benefits industrial hemp net benefits are quite impressive. He said Hemp grows in most climates with moderate water and fertiliser requirements.

Kemet interim chair Sangwani Msofi said it should be emphasized that the hemp being advocated for is pure industrial and not the one for smoking.

“I do not see why Malawi should struggle to improve its economy when it has valuable resource in hemp cultivation,” said Msofi.

He said hemp will bring the much needed forex adding that it can take over from tobacco. Msofi also said Kemet will keep on lobbying government to change its stance on Hemp for the betterment of Malawi.

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Mbowe Mulambia
6 years ago

A Malawi please changamukani this issue don’t just see it to the benefit side this issue is being used by Malawian to convince Malawian Muzungu involved pa debate why? if you want to legalise then legalise every thing malawian hemp and and their hemp Mukapusa pa mawa they will claim kuti ndi variety yawo including our Malawi variety don’t forget that varieties are protected mufusefuse malamulo a mbewu pa Dziko lapasi asanakudyereni masuku pa mutu? Boniface and Kalua are just being used a wa Pasa tumba la ma dollars to convince Malawian to my observation

The Binoculars
6 years ago

Good idea from the economic experts.Legal industrial hemp,police it propery and then Malawi will have more forex.We borrow from USA and even get Aid from the same source which gets part of its revenue from Chamba.

6 years ago

Chamba ndi ndiwo zokoma kuchitendera chimakoma ngati chisoso tridax procumbens. Try it you’ll love it very nutritious vegetable nsima yake mgaiwa

Smoko boy
6 years ago

Those who want to smoke let them do so. Its just like it is with beer and cigarates we see every day, not everybody smoke and drink. Its a personal choice, how ever, our focus is going to be on economy growth, period.

6 years ago

Do your research . ..chamba is also medicine God had a puporse only kt dzikoli linadzadza ndimamina

Che Wanimiliyoni
Che Wanimiliyoni
6 years ago

If the industrial chamba is not for smoking then it means the chamba we know in Malawi is not industrial since it is smoked. Now how do we know the industrial chamba will find favour with our weather? Let’s not cheat ourselves that our climate is good for chamba. It is just that we dont have enough capacity to police its illegal growth that is why there’s too much chamba in this country. Let the whole world legalize chamba we will as usual find ourselves at the bottom of poor quality chamba producers.

6 years ago

government with shallow thinking minds. US government that help us in donor funding its getting revenue from chamba and with the very same tax revenue its getting they are helping us in aid. we are benefiting from the very same chamba pali nzeru apa shupiti. change your thinking poor leaders. once legalised they will be the same rushing to rob chamba farmers.

6 years ago

this Is a good idea only if it is regulated properly. imagine the tourism we have a beautiful country with beautiful bud. and also don’t export raw hemp add some value manufacture process it then we sell it. some of you need to get rid of your lack of innovative thinking. yes its deemed a vice but we all partake in vice

6 years ago

Kodi mutapamga legalise same sex marriage, does it mean amunafe tidzasiya azikazi athu?

Optic Computer
Optic Computer
6 years ago

If the police are finding it hard to stop chamba growers in Nkhotakota from selling it in Blantyre, you will have to hire alien security to stop people from smoking if they grew chamba in the yards.

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