Labat Africa is partnering with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to study and commercialize medicinal cannabis and industrial hemp in the African market. Labat is an African-based venture capital company that is currently listed on the Venture Capital Market of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (“JSE”). The CSIR is South Africa’s premier research and development organization. Under this agreement, the CSIR will be able to ramp up the production and commercialization of medicinal cannabis and industrial hemp.
According to Labat’s CEO Brian van Rooyen, this agreement will solidify the collaboration between the two organizations in the value chain across the pharmaceutical, textile, and energy industries.
CSIR’s Coega hemp-processing facility will be used, upgraded, and expanded to accelerate the production of hemp biomass and the conversion into biocomposites for value-addition in the automotive, construction, textile, and packaging industries. Van Rooyen reported that a number of private sector and state-owned enterprises have confirmed interest. The largest textile manufacturing company in South Africa has promised to use the hemp material for their production rollout.
Africa is lagging behind in the legalization, production, and use of hemp and hemp products. South Africa has a cottage industry that has suffered the consequences of decades of stigma. As of now, there is no large-scale hemp production facilities and the small facilities that exist lack technological and financial capabilities for scaling. The joint effort by the CSIR and Labat is bound to reduce stigma and open up the hemp industry not only in South Africa but the rest of the continent. .