Europe’s call for medical cannabis sees South African firm thrive

"To meet the rising demand, we aim to increase production fivefold"

The booming demand for medicinal cannabis from Europe to Australia has seen a South African producer sell all of its output for next year in advance.

SafriCanna signed sale deals with Germany and Australia for the bulk of the production, Bassim Haidar, chief executive officer of its largest investor, Optasia, said in an interview. The company started construction of its facilities in the capital, Pretoria, in 2019 and shipped its first flowers in June. In the same month, it agreed with German-based DEMECAN to supply medicinal cannabis flowers.

To meet rising demand, SafriCanna aims to increase production fivefold by 2024. It will spend $ 40 million on expanding its facilities in Pretoria to produce 25,000 kilograms (55,000 pounds) of cannabis flowers a year from 5,000 kilograms currently, Haidar said.

SafriCanna is among a handful of African companies to have met the European Union’s strict good-manufacturing-practice standards, allowing it to export cannabis flowers as an active pharmaceutical ingredient to Europe, Haidar said.

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