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Achtung Baby: German Spice Giant gets Zim Cannabis License

German agricultural multinational Amatheon Agri hopes to find its cannabis fortunes in Zimbabwe. The Berlin-based company, which has invested over US$ 100 million in establishing farming operations in Africa, announced on 14 June 2021 that it had been awarded a cannabis research and cultivation license in Zimbabwe.


A deal’s a deal: German ambassador Hutter shakes hands with Zimbabwe president Mnangwana with Amatheon’s Bruhn looking on


The license has been awarded for five years with an option to renew, and the entire project will be subject to strict controls and compliance regulations.



Cannabis will diversify Amatheon’s export portfolio

“This approval lays the foundation for Amatheon Agri’s entry into a highly lucrative future industry,” says Founder and CEO of Amatheon Agri Holding N.V,  Carl Heinrich Bruhn. “With the license in hand, we can now start planning a scalable project that will significantly support our business growth in this specialised market,” says Bruhn.

The company will now embark on an assessment and planning phase for growing and producing an assortment of cannabidiol (CBD) products. It is yet to identify a site, variety or protocols for production.

“As a heavily regulated and extremely high value crop, this new product will further diversify Amatheon Agri’s export portfolio and spearhead its entry into the speciality products market.


Amatheon founder Bruhn: Seeking first mover advantage in Zimbabwean cannabis


Zimbabwean opportunity unparalleled

Amatheon Agri established its subsidiary in Zimbabwe in 2014 and has engaged various Joint Ventures in the country since. “Despite its economic challenges, we are strong believers in Zimbabwe’s future and it remains a priority in our strategic outlook,” says Bruhn. “Its variety of landscapes, ideal climatic conditions, abundant water supply, long hours of sunlight and talented labor market makes the country well poised for our new investment,” he says. During Bruhn’s recent visit to Zimbabwe, he met with the Vice President and Minister of Health, Dr. Constantino Chiwenga, who highlighted his appreciation of Amatheon Agri’s new investment initiative in the country.


Spices: Growth drivers with high contribution margins

Amatheon Agri’s priority remains expanding its business with products that generate a high contribution margin, primarily in the export market. In line with this strategy, the Company is now focusing on the large-scale cultivation of spices, in particular Birds Eye Chillies and Cayenne Peppers. The cultivation of these products has already begun, with trials for coriander, garlic, ginger, turmeric and cumin simultaneously in progress. This is alongside the Company’s established export portfolio of superfoods including quinoa, chia and moringa.



The core concept of combining direct commercial farming with production by neighboring smallholder farmers (outgrowers) remains central to Amatheon Agri’s growth strategy. As recently announced, the Company grows chillies on its own farms and also provides seeds to a network of around 4,000 small-scale farmers. Amatheon guarantees offtake through a contract farming agreement, whereby the farmers receive a fixed buying price pegged to the US Dollar and then markets the products regionally and internationally. This approach provides equal planning security for the farmer and the Company.

In 2020, Amatheon Agri also launched its new brand for 100% natural, fair and sustainably grown food from Zambia, Uganda and Zimbabwe: ZUVA Foods 

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