Cannabis operation supports local community in Cape Town to fight unemployment

Original Article can be found on MMJDAILY.

After the end of apartheid in South Africa, many industries and companies relocated to places where production costs were lower, causing a long-lasting wave of unemployment. Recently, the government of Cape Town has been carrying out an initiative to attract foreign companies to come back, in order to put an end to the increasing unemployment rate. “Large industrial manufacturers left South Africa after the end of apartheid and went back to Europe,” David Parry, Cannsun CEO, explains. “The industrial area within Cape Town recorded a 40% unemployment rate. It has been a true tragedy, especially considering that the Cape Town industrial area has a large skilled workforce.” Cannsun is a cannabis company that strives for inclusion and diversity. Therefore, participating in Cape Town’s initiative was almost a no-brainer for them. “We want to give back to the community here. We feel we have to be socially responsible, and this initiative sums up perfectly what some of our goals are. Our CEO in South Africa, my Co-Founder Pholoso Malitji, has made it a priority to hire inside the local community, support local businesses and support local initiatives “

Largest licensed producer in South Africa
According to David, Cannsun is the largest license holder in South Africa. “There are only 5 licensees in South Africa, we are the 5th and the largest,” he points out. “The SOPs and rules around cannabis here are quite stringent, like in Australia or Canada for instance. We have met all the criteria, and eventually received our license. It took a bit longer than expected, but that’s because, as I said, we are the largest here.”

Cannsun extends over 23 hectares of farm, where their greenhouse is built. “We chose this location because it has optimal growing conditions,” he points out. “For instance, we are not far away from the ocean, and therefore there is a constant breeze here, Southeastern “Cape Doctor”,  that helps us a lot with airflow in the greenhouse. We make use of that to save on fans. On top of that, the average temperature in this area never goes below 10 degrees during winter, and not above 30 degrees during summer. We have about 250 days of sunlight. No wonder that close to us there are some of the most renowned wineries in the country.”

R&D is paramount
Cannsun deploys a typical greenhouse system, according to David. “We make use of LED supplemental lights engineered by the Polish company grow-spec. At the same time, our propagation house and mother house are fully LED equipped. Additionally, we also have a post-production facility, and an extraction facility which will be ready to roll in Q4.” The choice of using supplemental lighting was dictated by the fact that Cannsun aims to grow 3 to 5 crops per year. “Thanks to supplemental lighting, we can have longer days during winter, and flower our plants a little quicker. So, it was very important for us to give plants that little push they needed to perform at their best.”

R&D is crucial for any cannabis operation, and Cannsun is very much aware of that. “We do experiment quite a bit,” David says. “Especially regarding the combination of HPS and LED lights. The ideal would be to have a hybrid system where HPS would be used during cold winter mornings, to warm up the environment more easily, and then switch to LED when necessary. We have always followed a scientific approach.” This same scientific approach was the basis from which the choice of genetics to grow was taken. “We planted twenty different strains,” David says. “We want to see how they perform; we want to compare the differences between them. Then, we will see which one will be our go-to strain for the next cycle. Certainly, each strain has a little bit of a different growing cycle; but from a scientific standpoint, we are gaining a lot of knowledge from this, and it will guarantee us that we will grow specific genetics at their full potential.”

Dave continues to explain that the company expects to start harvesting around June 15th. “We expect to be harvesting around June 15th and June 23rd, depending on the strain. Then, we will have a typical 10-12 days drying, and ultimately run the curing process.”

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