…As NAGAFF wants NCS strengthened for effective border patrol***
Africa is likely to become one of the world’s top medical cannabis growers, a group of researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs said on Monday.
Jordan Curl, Cultivation and Extraction Specialist at Israeli Cannabis Research and Investment firm ICAN told more than 500 delegates at the CannaTech conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
“Africa will become the cannabinoid production centre of the world,’’ Curl said.
The African cannabis and associated products market is expected to be worth 7.1 billion dollars by 2023, according to a report by London-based industry body Prohibition Partners.
With abundant land, a large labour force and an ideal climate for cannabis cultivation, investors have been keen to scout out the continent, and particularly southern Africa.
Africa offers growers clean soil, little pollution and many high-quality strains of CBD, one of the most abundant cannabinoids found in hemp, ideally positioning the continent for global exports, according to Curl.
“The EU is in turn likely to become one of the biggest retail market spaces, because there is mass demand for CBD but lack of infrastructure to grow and extract,” Curl said.
South Africa is leading Africa’s entry into the global market together with neighbouring Lesotho and Zimbabwe, having recently granted licenses to grow and export legal medical cannabis.
A number of other nations, including Swaziland, Uganda, and Malawi, are currently examining legalising cannabis cultivation for medical or industrial applications.
An expansion into Africa is, however, not without challenges, as the legal status of medical cannabis varies from country to country, and in some countries legislation remains unclear.
In the meantime, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has advised the Federal Government to boost the capacity of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to effectively patrol the nation’s borders.
Dr Boniface Aniebonam, Founder of NAGAFF, gave the advice in an interview in Lagos on Monday.
Aniebonam appealed to stakeholders to support the President’s port reforms to enable the service to operate optimally.
“The government should increase the capacity of the Nigeria Customs in terms of the border patrol engagement by equipping them properly,’’ he said.
According to him, Nigeria Customs Service has been modernised four years ago and that is why there is the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS), Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA++) and the scanning processes.
“But unfortunately, the scanners are not working.
“Nigeria Customs has been helping other African countries in the area of modernisation; that is e-based processing and procedures, paperless shipping and this has been quite over four years ago,’’ the freight forwarder said.
He, however, decried increasing charges by shipping companies and terminal operators.
Aniebonam noted that the inherent abuse and corruption in the e-based technology should be of utmost concern to government and stakeholders.
The NAGAFF boss explained that this had to do with some stakeholders not complying with import regulations, saying that all these could not help the system to work effectively.
He added that tackling the problem would come with a radical approach toward compliance.
On border closure, he said that government should have given adequate notice and could seize cargo of those not complying with import regulations.
Aniebonam also expressed concern about the poor condition of the access roads to the Lagos ports.
He noted that the problem of petroleum tank farms should be seriously looked into to avert imminent danger.