On the directive of Prime Minister Imran Khan the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has initiated a survey project for the cultivation of cannabis in three merged districts including Khyber, Kurram and Orakzai. The aim of the survey is to check whether the environment of these districts is suitable for the cultivation of cannabis or not. It is also included in survey to determine that on how much area this crop would be grown. The survey would estimate the production for making factories near the cultivation area. Recently the initial report of the survey submitted to the provincial government.
According to the preliminary report, cannabis cultivation in selected areas of three districts is possible with 116 Sq Km in Orakzai and on 106 Sq Km in Khyber district, which can produce 1,000 tons of CBD oil and thousands of tons of fiber. According to survey report, an acre of crop can produce CBD oil worth 15 to 20 lakhs Pakistan rupees from the upper portion of the cannabis plant and rest of the 70 percent portion of the plant can produce thousands of tons of fiber. On the other hand according to media reports one acre of cannabis crop produces 15 to 20 kilogram hashish worth of hardly 200,000 rupees whereas the mentioned districts produce 30 to 40 tons of hashish per year.
If the government allows cannabis’ cultivation, it will not only create opportunities for the people in these districts but will also generate foreign exchange through exports. Various clothing brands in Pakistan import hemp fiber to meet their needs while setting up factories in the province will easily meet their needs in local market. According to the suggestion in the survey report, the project can be a game changer for the province if the government legalises cannabis’ cultivation. The government will need to amend the ANF act 1997 for the cultivation of cannabis in KP.
There are three types of cannabis plants, including sativa, Indica and cannabis Ruderalis. The cannabis crop can be fully grown in three months duration. Hemp crop contains up to 0.3% of THC which is used industrially while more than 0.3% of the THC is used for drug purposes. CBD and edible oil can be obtained from the upper part of the plant including leaves and seeds. The market rate of one seed is 12 US dollars while one liter of CBD oil costs 10,000 US dollars. CBD oil is used in cancer treatment as well as treating other various diseases.
Hemp products can be used in clothes, shoes, handbags, printing papers, newsprint papers, building materials, plastics, body care products, nutritional supplements, foods, essential oil and in many more products. Cannabis crop can be used in 50,000 different ways. According to researchers, the cultivation of cannabis crop should be under controlled conditions by the government.
The world is already benefiting from cannabis’ cultivation as per reports the crop is grown on 230,000 acres of land in the United States, 120,000 acres in Canada and France. China is the most cannabis cultivated country in the world which covers 250,000 acres of land. China, United States, Canada and Australia are the major markets of hemp in the world. Global industrial hemp market is projected to grown from $4.6 billion in 2019 to $15.26 billion by 2025 and $41.78billion by the year 2027.among the hemp fiber producing countries are Austria, China, Denmark, Finland, United Kingdom, India, Japan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Egypt, Korea, Portugal, Thailand, Ukraine, South Africa, Chile, Germany and Australia. It is time that the crop should be introduced in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa to create employment as well as business opportunities.