Zimbabwe is looking at tapping into the industrial hemp market after its cabinet approved the repeal of laws banning the plant's cultivation, the country's Minister of Information Monica Mutsvangwa has said.
In a post cabinet briefing on Tuesday the minister said cabinet "considered and approved the proposal on the production of industrial hemp in the country."
She said the cultivation of industrial hemp was aimed at positioning it as a substitute for tobacco, Zimbabwe's current leading export crop.
"[Tobacco] is currently facing possibilities of being banned internationally due to its adverse effects on health," she said. "Industrial hemp will widen the country's industrial and export base."
"[...] the law governing the use and control of hemp in the country will be repealed to reflect the current industrial thrust of the country," said Minister Mutsvangwa.
According to the Agricultural Research Council, hemp is used make over 25 000 consumer products, "from hemp apparel and accessories to house-wares and hempseed oil cosmetics".
It can also be used in the production of cellophane, paints, biodegradable plastics, paper and cement blocks.
Since 2018 Zimbabwe has made provision for the limited cultivation and processing of cannabis specifically for medicinal and scientific purposes.