Malawi Farmers Protest Cannabis License Fees

BLANTRYE, MALAWI – Malawi’s new Cannabis Regulatory Authority this week said the country is ready to become the latest in Africa to produce the plant for medicinal and industrial use. Malawi farmers, however, say the license fee, up to $10,000, is prohibitively high.

The enactment of a law allowing cultivation of cannabis sounded like good news to Yohane Banda, a farmer in Kasungu district in central Malawi.

Banda believed switching to cannabis would almost triple his earnings from the tobacco he has been growing for the past 15 years.

But now, the license fees required to grow the crop have dimmed his hopes.

“It’s discouraging because in cannabis growing to get the license it’s expensive. They are saying it’s MK 250,000 ($330) per hectare,” said Banda. “While growing tobacco you pay according to the quarter that you have been provided with by the Tobacco Control Commission. For example, the starting quarter is 200 kilograms and you pay MK 21,000 ($28).”

The license fees to grow cannabis amount to $10,000 to cultivate and sell medicinal hemp, and $2,000 for the right to grow and sell industrial hemp.

Jacob Nyirongo is the chief executive officer for the Farmers Union of Malawi.

He says the regulatory authorities should have first looked at the market price of the crop before setting the license fees.

“The question is; if you buy a license at…

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