Stellenbosch-based Felbridge Medical Cannabis has exported 320 kg of medicinal cannabis to Switzerland’s Puregene Pharmaceuticals. The shipment via Cape Town International Airport left in the last week of June 2021 and is the first of a significant multi-year offtake agreement with similar size shipments expected to be exported in line with the company’s production schedule.
First tissue, now flower
The export follows the announcement by Felbridge that it had recently exported its first shipment of cannabis in-vitro tissue culture to a licensed producer in North Macedonia.
Felbridge CEO Leslie Zetler: “Exporting South Africa’s first commercial shipment of medical cannabis to Europe represents our most significant milestone to date. It is a major achievement not only for our Group but for the South African cannabis and hemp industry and it reinforces our belief that our genetics, which are developed using artificial intelligence breeding technologies, will continue to experience strong demand from the European market.
We believe that we have taken a giant first step in answering the call of President Ramaphosa who in his 2020 State of the Nation address called for the development of the local industry in line with global trends.”
Felbridge, which obtained its cultivation license in 2020, is
- developing its own distribution channel for its dry flower and starter material offering, and also
- positioning itself to assist other licensed cultivators who utilize its genetics with offtake opportunities into global markets.
Zettler says: “Navigating the highly-regulated global cannabis market can be challenging for smaller producers and Felbridge is bridging this gap by providing licensed cultivators with genetically superior cannabis and hemp genetics in the form required – whether in seed, rooted clones or in-vitro tissue, which meet the quality and regulatory demands of its customers.
Focus will now be on supplying local farmers
“Our existing catalogue of genetics have unique and predictable characteristics thereby maximizing production potential, whilst minimizing risk. Following this export, we are now convinced that the regulations, market and logistics have been proven to function as planned and we will soon be approaching other licensed cultivators with offtake opportunities utilizing Felbridge genetics.
“Our special focus will be on emerging farmers with the requisite skills, licensing and infrastructure to cultivate high quality medical cannabis flower for export to our existing customers as well as establishing new markets for our products. Offtake agreements not only enable license holders to solidify their business plans and obtain financing, they allow the industry to expand and flourish.
He says there is great potential for South Africa to become a significant producer for the global market and generating significant export revenue, which would lead to increased employment opportunities, skills development and further investment into the sector.
Felbridge has formed key relationships with international companies and local institutions which will provide a solid platform on which to grow. It is the licensed distributor for Swiss based Puregene for the African market and distributes their genetics via seed, rooted clones and tissue culture and has also signed a co-operation agreement with Perfect Plants, a leading biogenetics company based in the Netherlands, enabling it to expand its starter material offering by utilizing Perfect Plants’ extensive genetic library and distributing same through in-vitro tissue culture, seeds or rooted clones for on-sale into global markets.
As a full member of the South African National Seed Organization (SANSOR), Felbridge plans to commence cannabis and hemp seed production in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Growing order book
The company aims to become the leading cultivator in South Africa serving the international market with high quality medical cannabis and hemp products as well as starting materials and firmly believes that it is well on track to meet its objectives.
“Felbridge continues to execute on its strategy and has now successfully completed exports of both dry flower and in-vitro tissue to Europe and also supplies local licensed cultivators with seed, rooted clones and tissue culture” said Zettler.
“Our order book continues to grow which is testimony to the quality service and products we offer and this will no doubt provide a solid platform for future growth. Felbridge has proven to the market that we not only have offtake but that we have delivered upon it and will continue to do so as the company and industry develops. This would not have been made possible were it not for our dedicated team of employees who have worked tirelessly in ensuring that our quality products are brought to market in a safe and responsible manner meeting all regulatory requirements in the process.”