Lesotho Gets Confidence Booster as San Francisco Cannabis Company Invests Millions of Dollars in the Mountain Kingdom
7 December 2022 at 08:00:00
As Nasdaq-listed Akanda divests from Lesotho, so California cultivator WeGrow, is moving in to the landlocked southern African state. It has set up a 17 000 square metre facility near Maseru to produce high quality strains for export to Israel and then Europe.
Although WeGrow has been investing millions of dollars in Lesotho over the past two years, it only formally announced it had built a state of the art facility on 28 November 2022, less than two weeks after Akanda announced that it was abandoning Lesotho. The announcement is likely to be a confidence-booster for Lesotho, which has suffered reputational damage among international institutional investors following the corporate blow out between Akanda and its former chairperson Louise Mojela over Bophelo Biosciences and Wellness, which is currently in liquidation.
The company’s statement, which doesn't reveal much that's new, reads: “Lesotho always has clean air and a peaceful environment, which is suitable for high-quality cannabis production. A few years back the country became the first in the African continent to grant an administrative license for the commercial cultivation of cannabis. At WeGrow we saw a massive opportunity to bring to the world premium medical cannabis products and hence we decided to start our facility in this country. The climate, relatively affordable labor and electricity costs, and regulatory freedom have all contributed to our decision. ”
WeGrow received all necessary licenses from Lesotho in 2020 and says on its website:
“Very quickly after that we started to plan our state of the art cultivation and processing facilities according to strict medical standards - in one of the most beautiful places on earth!"
In less than 24 months, under COVID-19 restrictions, the company planned, and executed the construction phase of the Lesotho and had a 10 000 sqm. cultivation facility ready for production by end of 2021.
The company says “our journey reached a significant milestone in 2022 when we completed the construction phase and began full operational status with a total of 10,000 sqm of indoor sealed cultivation space with automated greenhouses roofs and 7,000 sqm of state-of-the-art post-harvest and service spaces. The facility has advanced polycarb roof panels to harness the sun and an on-site meterological system to facilitate bio-environamtal controls."
WeGrow employs about 100 members from the surrounding communities.
Cannabiz Africa understands that 7,5 kg of flower has been exported during 2022; other products to be exported are seeds, biomass and oil extracts, all organically produced and for the medicinal market”.
However, producton is likely to ramp up significantly as it is part of an overall 60,000 sqm facility with 30,000 sqm of production space in a unique hybrid greenhouse environment.
The greenhouse is built to harness the power of the sun and improve the quality of the cannabis flower. The unique greenhouse design utilizes the power of the sun to increase terpenes and resin development throughout the life cycle of the plant. This unique growing technique, paired with innovative processing techniques, allows for a finely cured and polished product that consumer across Europe enjoy.
The company offers 13 different cannabis strains for export, primarily to Israel but plans to expand into Europe.
6 x indica strains
THC: 19 – 24%
CBD: 0 – 7%
7 x sativa strains
THC: 17 – 24%
CBD: 0 – 5%
WeGrow’s master cultivator in Lesotho is Paul Alford who has been in charge of setting up the facilities. He says that all WeGrow’s cannabis-based products follow the strict CUMCS-GAP, and GACP standards and are produced in partnership with EU-GMP-certified processing facilities.
“ We want to produce Medical Cannabis that will improve the quality of life for ordinary people around the world – medicines that are effective, of high quality, affordable and have no harmful effects; and we want to share our knowledge with our hosts, partners and the local communities who’ve joined our journey.”