Job Offers

Top 5 - yesterday

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Sibusiso Xaba, ACA Group:

Africa: “Opening up the domestic cannabis market would help many struggling growers”

“The African cannabis industry is about 3-7 years behind compared to the rest of the world. While many growers are unable to integrate into an international supply chain due to the high standards, a domestic market would benefit them greatly,” says Sibusiso Xaba, Co-Founder and CEO of ACA Group (Africa Cannabis Advisory). The company provides African companies with a wide range of consultancy services specializing in the medical cannabis and industrial hemp industries. “Through working with various stakeholders, from entrepreneurs to governments, we aim to provide services that help the African cannabis industry get on its feet. While more companies in the continent are starting to be successful, much is left to improve upon.”

Sibusiso Xaba 

Adhering to international standards
According to Xaba, the African cannabis industry has experienced its fair share of highs and lows over the years. “At the start in 2017/2018, there was a lot of excitement about the African industry. Lesotho, for example, is a small country that received over $200 million in foreign investments and created over 3000 jobs in those early years. However, there have been lots of challenges in terms of integrating Africa into the international supply chain. The licenses in most African countries are for export only. Meaning you need to meet international quality standards, which many growers have struggled with.”

In fact, one of the biggest issues is that the African standards to get a license are significantly lower than the standards in those buying countries, explains Xaba. “This has been a huge problem for operators. It has happened frequently that they will raise the money, build a facility, get the license, only for them to then figure out that they are not adhering to international standards, such as EU GMP.”

Still, more and more African growers have managed to get through those growing pains and are now beginning to successfully export their products. “There are now more companies that are growing their revenue, improving their cultivation and compliance practices, and serving as an example for other licensed producers to follow suit.” Overall, it is mainly the southern countries that are leading the African industry. “Lesotho being an early mover was definitely a wake-up call for its neighbors. Because of how progressive and proactive Lesotho’s approach has been, that spurred other countries, such as South Africa, to realize that this is a real opportunity. Zimbabwe and Malawi, for example, were historically large tobacco exporters. But with the tobacco industry experiencing low prices and demand, they are looking at hemp production as a replacement. So there has also been a shift towards cannabis out of an economic necessity.”

There is also a possible development happening that would be a positive change for African growers. “We are hoping that South Africa will soon be opening up its domestic medical cannabis market. We have hundreds of thousands of potential patients who may not have the means to afford Western medicines. Once South Africa opens up its market for domestically grown cannabis, that would change the dynamic for many of the growers that are not able to integrate into an international supply chain.”

Helping growers
With cultivation being such an essential aspect of the industry and one with many challenges, the ACA Group has a strong focus on helping growers. “We want to help them become more successful by making sure they are adhering to the compliance standards and are producing cannabinoid profiles that are interesting for buyers. At the ACA Group, we can provide specialized, local knowledge while we also work with leading international partners in some key markets. This blend of knowledge and insights can facilitate the successful development of the African industry.”

Interested in obtaining some of that knowledge? ACA Group will be organizing a webinar next week on cultivation and risk management.  During this online event, African growers will learn how to grow high-quality, compliant cannabis for export markets. The panel speakers are: Philasande Mahlakata of Umzimvubu Farmer's Support Network, Gabriel Theron of Cilo Cybin, David Farber of Hemp Africa, and Luc Richner of CANNAVIGIA. The webinar will be held on May 18, 2022, at 7 PM SAST / 9 AM PST. Click here to register.

For more information:
ACA Group

Publication date:
© /

Receive the daily newsletter in your email for free | Click here

Other news in this sector:

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber