Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A reply from Amelia Karg at Hemptons in South Africa shed much light on this issue. She gave me a rundown of the recent history in SA, which started field trials in 1995 under the auspices of the South African Department of Agriculture (ARC). These were not a great success, the seed acquired from northern countries did not take well to the hot climate with its short days. A local hemp strain was developed by the ARC, with limited success, and a Hungarian variety which was planted did well in Eastern Cape. That province and Southern KwaZulu Natal were found the best suited for hemp cultivation in SA.
Farmers were given government licences in the late 1990s, with the Hungarian seed given to them initially. Ten oil presses were purchased from a German company for processing oil, and other equipment, including fencing, were provided. A reasonable crop was obtained in 2000, with some of the hemp sent to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for testing. CSIR's interest was limited to fibre hemp. The seed was pressed, using one of the German presses, with the oil and cake fed to the animals. A later pressing of seed took place in 2004, with Hemptons taking the pressing for sale on the open market.
That year the farmers applied for further funding, but were told there was no money left. Of the 20m Rand initially allocated, 15m had disappeared. Hemptons, the farmers and the CSIR continued to lobby for the project, and farmers have been allowed to continue, but without the money that was intended for their use. Planting is expected to continue in October of 2006, using the Hungarian variety.
Hemptons is not only working with farmers in SA, but is in contact with hemp researchers in Kenya, London and Uganda, all working together to create sustainable hemp farms in Africa.
For further information on this, please contact: Amelia Karg, Hemptons, PO Box 1540, Parklands, 21211, South Africa. Tel: +27 (11) 781-8956 Fax: +27 (88) (011) 781-8956
Mob: 082 604-5712 URL: www.hemptons.co.za
E-mail information on African hemp projects, cannabissatival@hotmail.com
[for previous posts relative to African hemp, use word search at top of this blog]

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