GOVERNMENT’S slow pace in actualising the cultivation and production of hemp is delaying the economic benefits and job creation that it will come with if implemented, former Kabushi Member of Parliament Bowman Lusambo has said.
Mr Lusambo said growing marijuana for medicinal purposes was fetching millions of dollars in other countries and had created a lot of jobs and Zambia was not going to be the first country to implement it.
He said the Patriotic Front while in government made sure that a lot of research was done by various stakeholders before the law was passed for growing of marijuana for medicinal and export purposes and was about to be launched before the party was voted out.
“It’s shocking that such a profitable project has been slowed down despite the efforts that were put in place in making sure that it was a success, we pushed it so that it can be creating jobs for youths and women,” Mr Lusambo said.
Mr Lusambo said former President Edgar Lungu had taken a multi-sectoral approach to this project in making sure that all stakeholders were involved to avoid the substance being abused by the public.
He urged the UPND government to quicken the implementation because it would add value to the Gross Domestic Product of the country and reduce the over-dependence on copper for exports.
Mr Lusambo said despite the shown interest by the government to venture into cannabis cultivation little or nothing has been done to ensure there is progress, emphasising that there is need for thorough consultations to be done.
He also said the exporting of cannabis would earn the country foreign exchange that could be used to pay back debt.