The Gouda Farmers Association is to undertake a pilot project with Hemp Africa (Pty) Ltd to perfect hemp growing in the Western Cape and turn it into the province’s “hemp hub”.
Hemp Africa says the aim of the project is “to obtain the perfect strain for the relevant markets and for the Western Cape microclimate”.
Research and development began on half a hectare of land in the Gouda area in October 2022, and according to Hemp Africa “we will then proceed to grow 50 ha and initially up to 1 000 ha of industrial hemp on a large-scale development in Gouda”.
Hemp Africa says “we aim to become the hemp hub of the Western Cape”.
“This is a crucial project for the future economic growth of the community. Together we can make this a success and build upon the enormous potential of industrial hemp crops and the skills of the farmers in the Gouda community.
“By leasing public land, establishing community based infrastructure that is specific to the growers and negotiating contracts, there is an opportunity to increase income and gain access to local and international markets as we move towards widening the growing base within the Western Cape and throughout South Africa.”
The Gouda Farmers Association and Hemp Africa intend to establish a cooperative on the site. The project involves cultivating the hemp and processing it into different products for specific markets.
Hemp Africa, founded by the Holmes group, says it has a “from the bottom up” vision to establish farming co-operatives for smallholder farmers to grow industrial hemp.
“Our vision is to create employment for farmers, spreading wealth, independence and sustainable employment in the region. The Hemp Africa & Gouda Farmers Association Project aims to increase employment in the Western Cape, teaching and supporting smallholder farmers for processing and distributing industrial hemp products.”