Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, Duma Boko, says he is holding billions of pula in industrial hemp investment that, he says, will create over 100 000 jobs within a single year.
Speaking at the launch of the party’s manifesto in Maun over the weekend, the fired up opposition leader, stated that international investors are lining up to invest in this kind of horticulture that he says has big potential to turn around the country’s economy.
“A single plant of industrial hemp has a profit of P14, so if you plant 10 hectare field that will employ 10 000 people, how many fields would we need to create 100 000 jobs?” Boko rhetorically asked much to the applause of his excited followers that had packed the Maun sports complex.
According to Wikipedia, hemp or industrial hemp, typically found in the northern hemisphere, is a strain of the cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products.
It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one if the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10 000 years ago.
It is from the same species as marijuana, but hemp is not meant to be smoked as it has extremely low levels of THC, the compound that gets people stoned from smoking marijuana.
Boko says he has on numerous occasions spoken about the hemp idea in parliament to the impression of the then Agriculture and Food Security Minister, Patrick Ralotsia.
Boko revealed that, Ralotsia has since confided in him that he has ventured into hemp farming. “He said industrial hemp is the way. He said when it comes to industrial hemp I am unstoppable.”
Ralotsia who was investigated for farming cannabis against the laws of Botswana is said to be facing criminal charges and Boko, an attorney by profession, has assured UDC that since Ralotsia acted on his advice, he (Boko) will represent him in the court of law to argue his case, if the case happens to go that route.
Meanwhile Boko is only waiting for UDC to take power from the Botwana Democratic party’s long rule, so that he can change laws and sign off-take agreements with international investors in industrial hemp.
Botswana goes to elections this year in October.