Popular Western Cape strawberry farm Polkadraai will now be producing medical dagga under their trading company, Felbridge. They are now the first commercial cultivators in the country to receive a cannabis cultivation licence from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).
This announcement follows the 2018 legalisation of private use of cannabis by adults in a private dwelling in South Africa.
The farm will be allowed to produce 20 tonnes of dried cannabis per year. The licence covers their existing 46 272m² greenhouse facility in the Western Cape. Farm owners Barry, Leslie and Julian Zetler plan to extend further with an estimated 121 920m² greenhouse area for greater cultivation. The trio of brothers have long been working in greenhouse cultivation, and believe this gives them a head-start over the competition.
The dagga grown will be used in a variety of ways, such as in anti-anxiety medication and in food supplements.
Dagga has been shown to have great medicinal benefits for those struggling with a host of illnesses or health problems, such as chronic pain, muscle spasms, and anxiety. Cannabidiol, or CBD, in particular has become popular and is now infused in many products readily available throughout the country.
Felbridge is one of five companies to receive a cultivation licence in the country.
Dagga farming promises to bring new jobs and up-skilling opportunities to farms, thus enabling growth in the employment sector. However, there is still much research and regulations needed in the newly developing sector.