Hemp cultivation trials to begin next year – Min. Mustapha
With the numerous economic advantages offered by the thriving hemp industry, Guyana is gearing up to embark on trial cultivation of hemp early 2024.
This was disclosed by Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha during a telephone interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI) Wednesday morning.
Minister Mustapha reminded that the introduction of hemp is aligned with the agricultural diversification agenda, as the government focuses on boosting the country’s output, generating jobs, and income for citizens.
“We have already earmarked lands in Regions Six and Ten where we can start small-scale farmers with one or two acres of cultivation. Also, we have some other groups that we are working with to get the specific plant…the industrial type hemp,” he explained.
The Industrial Hemp Act, ratified by the government in August 2022, paved the path for the legalisation of industrial hemp in Guyana and created new business and agricultural prospects for local farmers.
The agriculture minister said the Guyana Industrial Hemp Regulatory Authority is currently being established by the ministry, which will subsequently accept applications for industrial hemp cultivation licences.
“Right now, we are in the process of establishing the regulatory authority. So, I am now about to take that to the cabinet. We have received applications for the CEO’s position which I am reviewing and shortlisting,” he noted.
Additionally, by next month, a specialist will be visiting from India to work along with the government to establish an entire system to further drive the industry.
“We are working with an investor also to set up a processing plant. So, all those things are in the pipeline at the discussion stage. I am very optimistic that by the end of this year, these things can come into being, and by early next year, we can start the production of hemp,” the minister disclosed.
Although hemp grows well in a wide range of soil conditions, it thrives in fertile, neutral to slightly alkaline, well-drained clay loam or silt loam soils. Because of the plant’s rapid growth rates, a good moisture and nutrient retention capacity is essential.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are notably abundant in hemp seeds, which are also rich in healthy fats. These two fats are well known for enhancing heart health by lowering triglycerides, blood pressure, and cholesterol.