Another South African company ships its first cannabis to Australia

By Edward Tsumele

Another South African cannabis company this week shipped a significant quantity of  cannabis medical supplies to Australia, in a clear sign that South African companies in the cannabis marketing space, are mastering the technology needed to meet international standards with regards to their facilities.

In this announcement FarmaGrowers, a large family-owned farming enterprise based in Brits, a rural town in the South African province of North West, however did not disclose how much this cannabis shipment is worth, but  claimed that “ it the first 100% complete GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certified high cannabinoid medicinal cannabis export from cultivation facilities in South Africa to Releaf Group Ltd in Australia. FarmaGrowers has reached a level of certified quality to meet or exceed the requirements of discerning customers located anywhere in the world, including established distribution agreements into Germany and Israel with exports to these countries to follow shortly,” the company added.

It is increasingly becoming clear that it is the big players in the cannabis industry with the capacity to construct top class facilities that meet international GMP (Good manufacturing Practice) standards that stand to cash in on the current decent demand for medical cannabis in markets  in Europe that stand a good chance of success.

For example, in the case of  FarmaGrowers’s latest shipment to Australia, “The certified medical grade cannabis was grown in the AEtrium System, a fully automated precision aeroponic platform from AEssenseGrows in a facility with controlled environment created by GreenZone, the leading crop management supplier in South Africa. GreenZone led the project from design, construction, and environmental control to meet the demanding international standards.

About their export FarmaGrowers board of directors stated, “We are very proud of this accomplishment with our first global export of superior medical cannabis established this month. My Our team at FarmaGrowers has set the bar very high, with test results demonstrating performance well above our customer requests with our first consignment. We can attribute this accomplishment to the hard work and dedication of our team and the support of our critical expert partners, AEssenseGrows and GreenZone. We might not have been the first license issued, but we regard ourselves as trend setters in getting the first high THC export out of South Africa with the magnitude of challenges that come with setting the standards and paving the way.”

This is clear that to have such a sophisticated facility, there needs to be a certain amount of capital outlay, which will elude many a cannabis start up in South Africa, and therefore the argument in some circles that there is a need to develop the local market, becomes valid.

But the catch here is that there is therefore a need for the development of an enabling legal framework for the local cannabis market to be established, instead of relying on the international market, that can only accommodate those with the budget to build sophisticated and expensive facilities required by overseas clients before they order supplies from local cannabis suppliers.

Jaco Lingenfelder, managing director, GreenZone confirmed, “FarmaGrowers demanded ultimate quality in this project. They wanted a state-of-the-art structure with a controlled environment above the requirements of global GMP certification. There are very few other facilities in the world with this level of precision and control. We looked at many international suppliers as we architected this GMP facility. The AEssenseGrows aeroponic system offers precision control, advanced yields, and full automation that places it well ahead of other international alternatives.”

Robert Chen, CEO, AEssenseGrows, reflected, “FarmaGrowers proved that they could do the impossible in the middle of this pandemic: gathering financial backing, building relationships, executing to schedule, and delivering superior quality medicinal cannabis beyond global requirements. Now, that is an accomplishment!”. Chen continued, “I can’t say enough about the team at GreenZone. Jaco managed through government challenges, material delays, and labor interruptions, and still maintained the project to FarmGrowers’ aggressive requirements. An exemplary result”.

Together, these three companies struggled through the Covid pandemic, financial trepidation from themselves, and government limitations, to accomplish the first licensed, tested, and certified medicinal cannabis shipment beyond global standards. Volume shipments are now on their way.

“We now have the engine, the manufacturing plant, and the transportation system to deliver superior value to global customers anywhere in the world. We offer unmatched precision and repeatability through software-controlled grow recipes and GACP procedures.” declared the FarmaGrowers board of directors.

The AEssenseGrows AEtrium System delivers sensor-driven automation to execute the inherent benefits of aeroponics. The company’s Guardian Grow Manager central management software monitors grow conditions 24/7 and, if needed, automatically adjusts key variables such as nutrients, pH, temperature, or lighting to maintain optimal conditions.

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