$10m for cannabis production facility
Mashonaland Central Bureau
At least $10 million has been acquired for the establishment of Zimbabwe’s first ever medicinal cannabis production facility in Mazowe, Mashonaland Central.
Operating under the firm, NIRCAN ZW Ltd, a subsidiary of the NIRCOM A.S.I.G, the consortium has already applied to Government for a Medical Cannabis Cultivation and Growing Licence for Export.
Government, in April this year, announced that individuals and businesses could apply for licences to cultivate cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes.
According to sources, former Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa had, in principle, agreed to the application by NIRCAN ZW Ltd. Issuance of the licence will lead to the establishment of the Medical Cannabis and Growing Centre in Mazowe.
According to documents gleaned by The Herald recently, NIRCAN ZW Ltd has set aside $10 million for the project’s first stage.
The budget includes $4 million for the basic assumption, which include cultivation and growing centre with a gross size of 50 000 square metres. This would also include the establishment of one greenhouse growing unit and an outdoor growing unit.
The budget also includes a working capital of $4,5 million for the first year and $1 million was set aside for miscellaneous expenses.
In an interview in Harare, NIRCAN ZW Ltd director Dr Masimba Mavaza said the company is confident of success in their Zimbabwean venture.
He said the setting up of the facility in Mazowe could take three to six months.
“We are a company with subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada and we are made up of a team of professionals and experts in the field of agriculture medical cannabis, international trade law businesses and business development,” he said.
The project is expected to produce at least 4,9 million grammes of cannabis in its first year, earning a gross revenue of at least $11 million. Production is also projected to be 105 million grammes, earning more than $250 million by the fifth year of production. Dr Mavaza said the venture would also create at least 500 jobs in the first year.
“This is in line with the call by President Mnangagwa to legalise medicinal farming of cannabis.
“For the first time in Zimbabwe, we are having the use of cannabis not for recreation purposes, but for medical purposes.”
A number of experts from NIRCAN ZW Ltd, including directors Messrs Yohai Nir and Karine Alimi recently visited Zimbabwe to make presentations to Government ahead of their application.
The other company directors are Dr Mavaza, a legal expert based in the UK, Mr Nduku Lawrence Mbomson from German, Mr Alon Shmuel (Israel) and Mr Nir, also from Israel, among others.
The company has branches in Canada, Germany, England and Israel. The company has partnered local farmer Mrs Omega Hungwe in the project.
“She had given us part of her farm and we have met the Honourable Vice President Constantino Chiwenga among a number of high-ranking Government officials who are quite enthusiastic and highly interested in the project.
“We are eagerly awaiting the issuance of the licence and once that is done, the project starts and barring any other delays, production would begin in December,” he said.
According to documents available, the principal partners – Mr Nir and Mr Sharf – are experienced agricultural experts boasting of more than 25 years of experience in horticulture and fruit plantations gained in Israel.
Mr Sharf is an expert in the cultivation and growing of medical cannabis gained in Israel, Canada, the USA and other countries worldwide.
He is also an expert in planning, construction and building of indoor, greenhouses and outdoor facilities including civil works, irrigation systems, climate control systems, storage and drying rooms and security among others.
Security systems at the facility, according to available documents, would include a welded steel three-metre high security fence, CCTV and intrusion detection, alarm systems and facility access control.
All aspects of the cultivation would also follow Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations and Good Production Practices.
The initial cultivation stages, according the NIRCAN ZW Ltd., would focus on high-end cannabis flowers with plans to expand into manufacturing and processing cannabis plant derivatives including oils, edibles and pharmaceutical products.