By JOHN KOMBE
GOVERNMENT should speed up the cultivation of cannabis to address the high employment levels in the country, the Zambian Hemp Growers and Industries Association (ZamHemp) has said.
ZamHemp president, Peter Sinkamba made the observation in an interview yesterday. He said that both the industrial Hemp and medicinal cannabis cultivation cannot less than two million jobs.
He therefore wondered why the government was delaying such a game changer when the labour market was flooded with stranded job seekers.
Mr. Sinkamba observed that the squabbles and dissatisfaction being exhibited in the employment of 41, 000 health workers and teachers would be nothing to talk about if the cultivation of cannabis is actualised.
He said the fight for the few available jobs was enough motivation for the government to look at other job-creating sectors such as Cannabis cultivation.
Mr. Sinkamba urged the government to expedite the signing of the commencement orders for the already assented to Cannabis and Hemp Acts of 2021.
He said that the drafts were already drafted and have been lying idle since May last year. He said the Cannabis Act No. 33 of 2021 and Industrial Hemp Act No. 34 of 2021 were assented to by President Edgar Lungu on May 19, 2021. He wondered when the respective ministers would sign the commencement orders.
According to Mr. Sinkamba, Cannabis cultivation would create jobs across sectors such as manufacturing of paper, motor vehicle parts, medicines and others.
He said that such a promising sector must not be trivialised because it was a potential game changer for the over eight million unemployed Zambians.
Mr. Sinkamba, who is also Green Party president said that the commencement of the cultivation of Cannabis would have a positive effect on many sectors of the economy and hence the need for political will to kick-start the promising exercise.
He said the continued delay in implementing the proposed model was depriving the nation of the much needed revenue and jobs.
Mr. Sinkamba urged the government to expedite the process so that the State and the citizens can reap the benefits of the game changing sector.
He was however hopeful that the government would consider the proposed model on Cannabis cultivation, which he said had not been unattended to for a long time.