The yet to be registered Botswana Hemp Association are adamant plants can play a crucial role in rescuing the country’s dwindling economy and create much needed jobs.
Speaking at the group’s inaugural meeting at Adansonia Hotel in Francistown last Saturday, hemp activist, Peo Taukobong said exploiting plants, especially hemp, could potentially fill the void left by the recent closure of mines.
“We have a lot of indigenous and non-indigenous plants that can benefit our economy. Hemp is one of those. Our intention is to exploit its potential to the fullest. Hemp has more than 50, 000 products and we intend to produce some of them. We also have plans to exploit the economic potential of other plants besides hemp,” the passionate activist told Voice Money.
Hemp is used around the world in the production of various commercial and industrial products, including cosmetics, clothing, textiles, food and even biofuel.
“I noticed that hemp was a crop with huge potential. There are hemp based industries in countries such as the US, South Africa, Kenya and Malawi. We have made contact with these people and they are willing to help us set up such industries in these country” said Taukobong, whose interest in the plant started a few years back when he came across information on its numerous commercial uses.
The activist revealed he has spent a lot of time and energy trying to convince government officials and other industry players to accept hemp as an industrial crop and help set up the industry.
However, Taukobong further said that whilst most he approached expressed an interest in what he had to say, they were concerned about the legal implications surrounding hemp.
“Our law says it is an illegal substance but the United Nations says it is legal as long as it is used for industrial use. We intend to sort out this legal issue with the authorities,” he stressed.
Hemp falls under the cannabis family and such plants are considered as habit forming and are currently illegal in Botswana.