Federal Minister for Science and Technology Senator Shibli Faraz on Thursday said that hemp cultivation for industrial and medicinal usage will help wipe out the illicit drugs business.
“The products that come from cannabis are more profitable than drugs,” he said while responding to a question about the possible misuse of hemp cultivation while attending the harvesting ceremony at the Institute of Hydroponic, Arid Agriculture University.
“I am delighted to see that the experiment of hemp cultivation at this site is successful”.
The cultivation of hemp was started in August under a project of the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), he said, adding now this is the time to harvest this crop.
"Out of the four varieties of hemp which were cultivated, one variety was local while others were from Skardu, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa," said the federal minister.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil will be extracted after harvesting the crop in the laboratory of PCSIR, Lahore.
Hemp is one of the crops which are suitable for cultivation in Pakistan according to its weather conditions and natural habitat. It has both industrial and medicinal usage as it can be used as fibre in the textile industry as well as in medicines for the treatment of cancer, epilepsy and pain management.
Faraz said the usage of hemp crop as a substitute of fiber in the textile and paper industry as well as in medicines will help the country in earning foreign exchange.
The federal minister said that Prime Minister, Imran Khan had run an olive campaign and now olive production has started in the country.
Earlier, olive oil was being imported, he said, adding after local production, the country would be able to export it.
He said the Ministry of Agriculture, Federal Bureau of Revenue, Ministry of Health and other stakeholders have formulated a policy together in this regard. Faraz added the information ministry was also working to bring National Science Innovation Policy through engaging stakeholders.
The federal minister announced that his ministry is also arranging a mega-science and technology fair in the month of January to encourage technology and innovation.
The minister formally inaugurated the hemp harvesting along with other officials and staff of the university.