MBABANE – Swazi dagga is now being used to make construction material in Europe and South Africa.
The high quality cannabis is being compressed into bricks and used for construction.
It has been established that there is a world scramble for Swazi dagga as countries like England, Spain, France, Turkey, Australia, California and South Africa value the Swazi weed as a strong material for construction.
They access the hemp through the black market of South Africa. South Africa is the largest importer of the high quality Swazi hemp.
In some instances, the dagga, which is sometimes called cannabis, was being added to clay to strengthen bricks for building.
More recently, it is said the hemp (cannabis) had received fresh impetus as it was, itself, being compressed into bricks.
The United Nations (UN)’s media, IRIN, reported that marijuana grown in Swaziland housed South Africa’s homeless people.
IRIN reported that Swaziland has the highest cultivation of cannabis per capita in Southern Africa.
The IRIN quoted Andre du Plessis, an official from Intern Africa, an organisation working with residents in informal settlements, saying Swaziland authorities should be enlightened about the importance of dagga as it could prove key to their efforts to develop the economy.
“With five years experience in dealing with government and housing, and the bureaucracy in between, I can say I am expertly aware of the controversial nature of this project. However, there are homes built from this technology in England, Spain, France, Turkey, Australia, California and South Africa,” Andre du Plessis told the UN media ‘IRIN.
It has been reported that the authorities’ efforts to destroy marijuana crops had failed to discourage Swazi peasant farmers from growing the plant and South African drug traffickers pay handsomely for Swaziland’s marijuana, which is prized for its potency in the Netherlands and other European destinations.
As a result, Intern Africa cited as motivation a report by the International Narcotics Control Board proposing alternative uses for marijuana to legitimise illegal crops.
“The controversy regarding cannabis is easily resolved when used industrially – the plant is harvested at the onset of autumn (March 1) before flowering and the creation of the drug content. Naturally, once the crop has been used industrially and is combined with lime, it cannot be smoked or used as a drug,” du Plessis explained.
He said if Swazi authorities could be convinced that the local cannabis crop could become a legitimate source of building material, hundreds of cannabis growers could earn a modest living. He said he would engage the Swazi government in talks over the growing of this crop.
By MFANUKHONA NKAMBULE