by Phenyo Mokgothu
North-West University (NWU) vice-chancellor Dr Bismark Tyobeka has committed to supporting and assisting the North West provincial government in reviewing the policy and regulatory framework to fast-track the industrialisation of hemp and cannabis.
“The NWU is ready to make a contribution towards the implementation of the National Cannabis Master Plan to unlock the economic potential of rural communities,” said Dr Tyobeka.
Hemade this commitment during the first North West province Cannabis Lekgotla on the NWU’s Mahikeng Campus from 14 to 16 September.
The lekgotla, themed “Breaking the barriers, towards the Cannabis Agenda in the North West province”, was held by the North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the NWU.
Dr Tyobeka said the NWU, through its Indigenous Knowledge Systems Centre and Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, will form a strong partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Rural and Development on the cannabis agenda.
“We are confident that the benefits of this partnership will be far-reaching. Our scientists, researchers and extraordinary professors are doing research on cannabis, and they can collaborate with communities to produce new cannabis products for industrial, commercial and health purposes,” he added.
According to Desbo Mohono, MEC of the North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the main objective of the Lekgotla was to engage on the economic purpose, industrialisation and development of cannabis in the North West province.
“To roll out the National Cannabis Master Plan for economic development, we want to mobilise and engage with relevant stakeholders and custodians in the cannabis industry to explore inclusive and representative entrepreneurial opportunities for the North West community.”
He added that the department wants to help farmers to tap into this opportunity and to make it easier for them to farm with cannabis.
“Lastly, we want to prioritise learning and research programmes to bridge the unemployment gap and address poverty in our communities,” said MEC Mohono.
North West premier Bushy Maape encouraged the youth and particularly women to participate in the cannabis value chain as business owners. He has also vowed that the province will implement the National Cannabis Master Plan to the benefit of the people in the province to alleviate the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
by Phenyo Mokgothu