Seeking to bolster revenue and exports, Zimbabwe will repeal its laws that prohibit the production of cannabis.
The announcement came Tuesday from the country’s Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, who said that the reform will allow farmers to grow industrial hemp to export. Ultimately, the goal is for hemp to replace tobacco as the southern Africa nation’s leading crop export.
With global tobacco sales slumping from decades of health campaigns and the recent rise of vaping products—combined with the worldwide rollbacks on prohibitions against cannabis and hemp—the change to the laws is a signal that Zimbabwe is looking toward the future.
Mutsvangwa told members of the press gathered in the capital city of Harare, as quoted by Bloomberg, that “the crop can be a good substitute to the leading export crop, tobacco, which is at risk of being banned globally.”
Zimbabwe is mired in one of the deepest economic crises the country has seen in decades, with staggering inflation on food and devastating drought leaving millions hungry. A report from the United Nations last month found that more than a third of households in rural Zimbabwe—amounting to about 3.5 million people—are “dangerously food insecure.”
By early 2020, the report said, 59