Thirty- Two Islands Inc. Medicinal Cannabis farm has joined the feat to be a part of, and contribute towards the medicinal cannabis industry.
Officials from the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA), the Ministry of Agriculture, and representatives of various traditional cultivator groups, journeyed to Richmond, North Leeward, to witness the official launch of Thirty-Two Islands Inc. medicinal cannabis farm; a local company which was established by Vincentians living in SVG and the USA.
In a pre-recorded video, Michael DeRiggs, CEO of Thirty-Two Islands Inc., stated that, in the process of preparing the land for farming, Thirty-Two islands has employed an average of 25 people weekly and have spent approximately US$200,000. DeRiggs who is currently in the USA, further noted that, once the farm is fully operational, there will be the employment of 10 to 15 persons.
Meanwhile, Thirty-Two Island Inc.’s Chief Operating Officer, Norville Abraham, explained that preparatory work including land clearing, fencing, and construction of on-farm facilities commenced in the last quarter of 2019 and the company’s plan is to set out a diversified farm that incorporates cultivation of turmeric, ginger and several fruit trees.
Identifying the progress and accomplishments made thus far, Chief Executive Officer of the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA), Dr. Jerrol Thompson, outlined the pillars of the medicinal cannabis industry; the laws and regulations, an international banking solution, a seed to sale traceability system and a medicinal cannabis testing laboratory.
Dr. Thompson emphasized, however, that the Medicinal Cannabis would not be a successful venture without the traditional cultivators; who he stated are at the core of the development of this industry. According to the CEO, the traditional cultivators bring the requisite skillset and knowledge to the equation.
He took the opportunity to highlight that the government recognized from inception that many traditional cultivators do not have access to suitable lands and as such, there was a need to assist with the provision of lands.
To this note, Dr. Thompson divulged that the MCA identified over 200 acres of vacant lands in Lashum and Top hill in North Leeward. Accordingly, investments were made in Aerial Drone Technology to survey the area and later 19 traditional cultivators were hired to facilitate the clearing of large trees on the land.
These traditional cultivators were gainfully employed during the period 15th November — 31st December, 2019.
After months of detailed work with the Ministry of Lands and consultations with the farmers, the survey and subdivision plan for the Lashum and Top Hill area has been drafted, stated Dr. Thompson. He further informed that the lands are being allocated for traditional cultivators who do not have lands along with several existing non-cannabis farmers in the Lashum and Top Hill area.
Noting that establishing a medicinal cannabis industry has many challenges; Community Liaison within the Medicinal Cannabis Authority, Spirit Cottle praised the government and the MCA for the progress made thus far and the thrust towards ensuring that traditional cultivators are fully incorporated.
Cottle urged for the full corporation and support of everyone involved, stating that the time to be seized is now.
Speaking at the same event, former Speaker of the House of Assembly and now Member of Parliament for North Leeward Honorable Carlos James explained the work towards achieving a banking solution for the industry and urged for technical cooperation between traditional cultivators and investors for the success of the industry.
The ceremony saw the handing over of the certificates to Thirty-Two Islands Inc. Medicinal Cannabis Farms. Certificates of Appreciation were also handed over to the 19 Traditional Cultivators as recognition for their hard work and dedication contributed to the Lashum and Top Hill Project.