Head Grower gives tour of NeoPharm's facility

Cultivating medical cannabis in South Africa: "High standards and costly, but profitable"

In South Africa lies a 400 square meter greenhouse equipped with the latest climate control technology, accommodating 1750 plants of medicinal cannabis. While currently working on his second crop, Head Grower Karl Marais gives a tour of NeoPharm's facility in a recent video by The CannaClub. "Especially with all the technology we use, it was costly to set up. But the result is a highly controlled environment for cannabis that meets the GMP quality standards."

Marais explains that his days as Head Grower are busy, with his days spent in the greenhouse as well as the office. "My responsibility is to make sure that the current production process happens correctly and doing quality control. Moreover, it is important to have some foresight into what could happen in the future so that we can prepare ourselves."

Luckily, Marais does not have to do all the work alone. "We have three cultivation technicians that assist me. Together, we do all the cleaning, pruning, and all the other actions that need to take place in the production areas. We also have 28 local women who do our hand trimming, which is a way in which we are supporting the local community.

All the help is more than welcome, as there is no room for error when producing medicinal cannabis on a large scale. "Everything is more precise, as a small deviation can have a large impact. With the high-quality standards, that is something you can't afford. We produce according to GMP standards, so pesticide and heavy metal levels need to be under certain amounts, among many other things."

Marais explains that it can definitely be profitable to go into medical cannabis farming, but there is a lot to take into consideration. "In addition to the high-quality standards you need to comply with, it's costly to set everything up. To apply for a license costs 23,000 rand. Your building plan for the pharmaceutical facility will be your next fees, which can total around 500,000 rand. The cost of the build of the facility depends on size and technology. I've seen facilities cost anywhere between 9 million rand up to 100 million rand."

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