Malawian farmer Ethel Chilembwe has paid out hundreds of dollars, cleared six hectares of land, and got ready for the training, but after two years of waiting, she has not cultivated a single cannabis plant.
Malawi legalized cannabis farming for industrial and medicinal use in February 2020, hoping to take advantage of the booming global demand and move away from the reliance on tobacco as an export crop.
Ms. Chilembwe, who has been farming tobacco in Kasungu in the west of the country for the last seven years, also scented an opportunity to replace her shrinking returns. She was not the only one - hundreds of other farmers have also been left disappointed.
The United States Cannabis Association-Malawi (USCA), a private Malawian company, has been one of those at the center of this failure, yet it still hopes that things will work out.
As part of its vision for how the country could benefit from cannabis, the government wanted to involve as many small-scale farmers as possible who would source seeds from local private companies and then sell the harvest back to them.
But things did not work out as planned.
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