Chris Ndaliso
Senior journalist
3 minute read
2 Jul 2022
10:07

Pietermaritzburg hemp project a dream come true for former deputy mayor

Chris Ndaliso

"There are several end-products from consumables to beauty products. This is an opportunity for local people to tap into a market that has taken ages to be opened up for the public to explore."

Former deputy mayor Manilal Inderjit at a hemp farm in 2020. This picture was taken in Gauteng.

Triwin Africa has moved a step forward in realising its dream of hemp production in Pietermaritzburg.

The company, a brainchild of former Msunduzi deputy mayor Manilal Inderjit, received its hemp production permit from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on June 1.

The permit is valid until June 2, 2025.

Inderjit said their permit allows them to produce the plant on a commercial scale.

He said the aim is to produce a variety of hemp products, boosting the local economy in the process.

“There are several end-products from consumables to beauty products. This is an opportunity for local people to tap into a market that has taken ages to be opened up for the public to explore.

“I have already alerted the area inkosi about the good news and I am planning to address the Vulindlela community on Saturday [today] because I will be working with them on the project.

“The department has brought us one step closer to realising this dream. “I am not sure about KZN (KwaZulu-Natal) but in Pietermaritzburg we are the first to be awarded a permit for hemp production on a commercial scale.

“Our vision is to empower local communities and the next step now is to convince funders why they should inject funds into this project,” said Inderjit.

He said depending on how far they want to go with the project, funds required could start from R100 000 to R100 million to produce and refine the specific desired strains of hemp up to the refinery stages on a 10-hectare farm in kwaDindi, Vulindlela in ward 6.

“A Gauteng-based firm is on board and will be providing us with the specific strain suitable for our purpose. Everything we use from cultivating to product will be local, from water to humidifiers.

“For funding we have and are approaching various financial institutions like the Growth Fund, National Empowerment Fund, Ithala and others,” he said.

Inderjit said the cannabis industry has been hampered by regulatory obstacles, and that more is needed to be done to educate people about the economic spin-offs in the production of the plant.

“[On Wednesday] we were invited to submit our plans to Trade and Investment KZN, an organisation co-funded by the European Union so that they can assist us in whatever capacity they can.

“There is increased interest and investment from both the public and private sector in this sector. South Africa has the potential to make great gains from hemp production locally and internationally,” he said.

Inkosi Maviyo Ngcobo of the kwaMafuze tribal authority said he is delighted by the news that a permit has been issued for the project.

“I am very excited about this project because it looks different to others that we have had in our tribal authority.

“I wish that our government can also contribute funds to this project because it is people in the area who stand to benefit when the project succeeds …

“People have no jobs so when opportunities like this one arise, it is up to all concerned, including government, to ensure that such opportunities grow and become the main source of income for local people,” said Ngcobo.