The government will soon legalise the growth of hemp in Guyana and Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has announced that farmers from Region Six (East Berbice- Corentyne) and Region 10 (Upper Demerara- Berbice) will be targeted for this new industry.
Jagdeo reiterated his government’s commitment to the development of the hemp industry at an outreach activity with residents of Region 10 on Sunday.
“We decided hemp can generate a lot of employment,” he said, adding that new legislation to legalise the growth of hemp will be tabled in the National Assembly soon.
Beyond that, however, he indicated that the government already has plans to harness this industry to create jobs for “a lot of farmers”.
“We want to target Region 10 and Region Six – the workers who were laid off in Berbice, the sugar belt, and Region 10 where you have employment to start and license people to grow that,” Jagdeo told a gathering of businesspeople.
The hemp industry has been touted as a new, profitable sector in Guyana. It is used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products, including rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel. It also has many medicinal purposes.
At a recent press conference, President Dr. Irfaan Ali expressed an interest in meeting with and encouraging Guyana’s “marijuana growers” to join this industry instead.
The President said that he wanted to encourage those “growers” to cease planting marijuana since that has social consequences. Though marijuana is both grown and consumed in Guyana, it is illegal.
A Special Select Committee of the National Assembly is working on the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Control Amendment Bill 2021; this bill seeks to amend the act, allowing for the decriminalisation of small amounts of marijuana.
Even so, President Ali said that hemp is considered a “mainstream economic activity” that can give those planters greater economic returns.