Canada's LGC Capital Ltd, along with its South African joint venture partner AfriAg (Pty) Ltd, has signed an agreement to acquire a controlling stake of 60% in equity in South Africa's House of Hemp. House of Hemp is the leading company in Southern Africa with regards to hemp and cannabis related products with medical cannabis about to become one of its latest offerings.
Dr. Thandeka Ruth Kunene, Founder of House of Hemp.
The South African company was founded by Dr. Thandeka Ruth Kunene who has an engineering degree as well as an MBA degree from London's Richmond University. After obtaining her MBA she returned to South Africa to become the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Cape Town. Before venturing into the cultivation of cannabis, House of Hemp was an importer and reseller of hemp products such as hempseed oil, hemp protein powder, and de-hulled seeds; this still remains a key part of its business.
"This is an important deal for LGC, that launches the company straight into the global medical cannabis sector," said John McMullen, CEO at LGC Capital.
House of Hemp is based at Durban's Dube Tradeport's Agrizone Complex. The company has a 40,000 square meter secure, temperature-regulated and humidity-controlled greenhouse under glass, which has refrigerated pack houses, laboratories and offices. The complex is said to be the most eco-friendly and high-tech facility across all of Afrika.
"House of Hemp's massive 40,000m2 (420,000 square feet) glasshouse complex at Durban Airport is the only certified cannabis growing and processing facility in South Africa. This is an opportunity to move towards production quickly as this facility exists and is already operational. It is ideal for large scale cultivation and processing of cannabis with its humidity and temperature controlled environments. We see a real global competitive edge as we will have minimal capital costs going forward and plenty of scope to cheaply increase the growing footprint within the Dube TradePort AgriZone. From an operating cost perspective, South Africa has a highly skilled labour force and the unit costs of electricity, labour and fertilizer are globally very competitive. The House of Hemp has a long and established history of top quality R&D in the hemp and cannabis fields in South Africa and we plan to leverage this superior knowledge to use its skills to grow our medical cannabis initiative elsewhere in southern Africa and beyond," added McMullen.
House of Hemp will be ramping up its R&D so that it can be able to offer high-CBD medicinal cannabis.
Dr. Kunene has extended experience in the hemp industry as she has prwviously served as a member of the Advisory Board at Global Hemp Group Inc. She was also key in creating two of the hemp industry's important industry groups; The National Hemp Foundation and The Global Natural Fibre Forum. She was equally driven to promote entrepreneurship among black women along with alleviating poverty and environmental damage through the use of natural fibers. She chose hemp as her main focus because of its versatility.
House of Hemp's 40,000 SQM Greenhouse facility.
As part of the transaction, the LGC Capital joint venture has comitted to paying $37,000.00 for the next 7 months to keep House of Hemp fully funded and cover its general overheads, salaries and facility lease payments. Also, the joint venture partners have also committed to securing the necessary $4,9 million to commence large scale trial production within the greenhouses as soon as development plans are finalised.
This is one of the first projects and ventures to innovate around medical cannabis on such a large scale in South Africa, and possibly Afrika at large.
House of Hemp became the first private company to be awarded an exclusive permit from South Africa's Departments of Agriculture and Health to legally cultivate and process hemp in South Africa. It was licensed in 2010. The company then went on ro seek an exclusive permit from the Departments of Agriculture and Health to not only import hemp, but also to legally cultivate and process it in South Africa at an industrial scale,
House of Hemp also conducts research and supplies hemp by-products such as tow, biomass, dust and seedcake.