ISLAMABAD: Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry recently said that commercial production of medicinal hemp would be a $1 billion market for Pakistan in the future.
In a tweet, Fawad said the cabinet had approved the first licence for the science and technology ministry and the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) for industrial and medical use of hemp.
“The landmark decision` would place Pakistan in the international cannabidiol (CBD) market worth billions of dollars,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference recently, the minister clarified that the industrial production of medicinal hemp was different from growing poppy-like crops as was being misunderstood by certain quarters.
Mr Chaudhry clarified that the industrial hemp plant contained a vital ingredient called the cannabidiol.”This ingredient is very important medical therapy and mitigates severe and chronic pain in patients. He noted that several countries, including China and Canada, were cultivating hemp on tens of thousands of acres,” the minister said.
According to the minister, while the seed of the plant could be used to make hemp oil, the leaf was used in medicines. The hemp stem is used to create a fibre that could one day replace cotton in the textile industry, he added.
He clarified that the commercial production of the plant was approved to be carried out only under government control for now until further research and safeguards of the show were put in place.
“We want the hemp market to generate $1 billion for Pakistan in the next three years,” he said, adding suitable places chosen for the production in the first phase included sites in Peshawar, Chakwal and Jhelum.
The minister claimed that the government was also endeavouring to introduce precision agriculture under which high-technology farms would be developed.
Director International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) Dr Iqbal Chaudhry, who is based at the University of Karachi, said his research institute was chosen by the government to work on the project which was equipped with the technology and expertise required for certification and validation of hemp products.
He said Pakistan would be able to export several value-added products using ICCBS’s research facilities easily.
It is pertinent to mention here that hemp, or industrial hemp, is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products.
-Courtesy by Dawn