Panama and Guyana are showing interest in hemp as they join several Latin American countries that are establishing hemp sectors. Both governments announced their plan to enter the hemp industry this month.
Panama’s Health Ministry, along with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and that of Agricultural Development, held a meeting to discuss a bill proposed by Kayra Harding, National Assembly Deputy.
According to the country’s Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre, hemp production is a valuable endeavour with commerce, agriculture, and health applications. Sucre urged the Ministry of Health to engage in every aspect of the industry.
Juan Carlos Sosa, Vice Minister of Foreign Trade, also spoke in support of the initiative noting that developing a hemp industry in the country runs parallel to his ministry’s objectives.
Panama is an agricultural nation with roughly 582,000 hectares of productive farmland. Presently, crops mainly cultivated in the country include sugar cane, cocoa, coffee, beans, bananas, corn, and soybeans.
Meanwhile, in Guyana, hemp advocates suggest a step by step process when establishing the sector. The industry enthusiasts applauded the government’s plan to look into hemp, believing hemp offers more economic benefits outside of direct farming and processing. Insurance, banking, marketing, and retail are some of the sectors proponents believe will benefit from hemp.
Hemp advocates in Guyana cited research programs showing that production of 100,000 hectares has the potential to generate over 40,000 employment opportunities.
The supporters suggested initial allocation of 10-hectare plots of land to 500 Guyanese families to cultivate industrial hemp. For an estimated 5,000 hectares, the sector could yield 50,000 tons of hemp plants to be processed into fibre and hurd. The industry activists believe that after preliminary cultivation, the hemp farms would maintain steady growth.
With only 2% of arable farmland, Guyana’s main cash crops are cocoa, coffee, coconuts, and tobacco.
Panama and Guyana are the latest Latin American countries after Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay, and Argentina to join the hemp industry.