The Entrepreneurial Spirit – Invegrow

From Malawi – With Love

Following the successful Industrial Hemp trials at Chitedze Research Station in Lilongwe, the Malawian Government has approved the trials to be conducted in other environments. Speaking during a presentation of the findings at last year’s annual review and planning meeting in Mzuzu, Department of Agriculture Research Services’ (DARS) chief assistant, Laurent Pungulani, disclosed that the trials have established that the varieties have lower levels of the psychoactive substance, THC, compared to the limit set by the international community. Pungulani said that following the Chitedze Research Station trials, DARS has given the green light to have the varieties tested in “other places”.

“I have in mind Chitala Research Station, which has a completely different environment than that of Chitedze, because it is very hot. Probably, we will have to have another trial where temperatures are low and a good example could be Bvumbwe Research Station, because it is cooler and receives high rainfall,” said Pungulani. Invegrow director, Tanya Clarke, whose company is a stakeholder in the trials, said some foreign investors are already enquiring about the industrial hemp, although some are confusing it with marijuana.

While Malawi is reportedly investing about $10m in the cultivation of industrial hemp, which is considered to have economic, medical, nutritional and agricultural value, Team Invegrow is led by British entrepreneur, Tanya Clarke. Tanya is a social entrepreneur with a strong desire to support sustainable economic development in Malawi, the country which has been her home for the past 8 years.

Invegrow Limited was founded in 2013 and is the first company in Malawi to be granted authorization by the government to conduct trials on industrial hemp. Working closely with our government counterparts and research partners, we have fostered a relationship of trust and transparency, with a commitment to education about the crop where none previously existed. The ultimate objective of our mission is to see industrial hemp adopted as a viable new cash crop in Malawi, and to see Malawians benefiting from its products at both a health and economic level. We will be producing Malawian-made hemp products that can be viewed on our Products page.

Tanya has extensive experience in the agricultural field, having already built a successful business in Malawi, Kawandama Hills, which produces quality essential oils and employs hundreds of Malawians. She is committed to initiatives that improve the lives of the local people through the ambitious work of her educational charity, Expand. Invegrow was founded in 2013 and is proud to already have the full support of the Malawian Government, as well as several key civil society and private sector groups, all of whom share their passion for the future of Industrial Hemp.

What is clear when you browse Invegrow’s website, is that there is a passion for Malawi, the country and its people. As their Mission Statement declares:
“To create a dynamic and viable hemp industry by partnering with experts in our field in order to become a leading company in Africa producing seed, genetics, extracts, and food from our own farms and farmers in Malawi.”
While Invegrow boasts products ranging from hemp seed oil, edible hemp protein powder, hemp seed for cultivation, hemp hurd for construction and bio-composites and essential oil, their main objective focuses on social and economic empowerment, helping the people of Malawi to grow economically, whilst empowering themselves.

An alumnus of the University of Malawi, Economics Department, Nebert Nyirenda is another Director of Invegrow. With the completion of the hemp trials, Mr. Nyirenda told The Nation Online Media House that Invegrow were mobilising their factory equipment base, which would be ready as the hemp nears maturity stage in June 2018. The company had cultivated 8 hectares (ha) of hemp, which is due for harvesting in June.

“Industrial Hemp has more economic opportunities, as we will be extracting oil for fibre from the seed and produce oil products – and it is also edible,” Mr. Nyirenda said, adding that in 2017, the company imported body wash, shampoo and face wash with hemp seed oil, just to give Malawians a feel for the products made from Industrial Hemp.

With dwindling earnings from cotton and tobacco, hemp is believed to offer an opportunity for the country to diversify and attract more foreign investment. At Chitedze, 10 varieties of hemp from Europe, China and Australia have all been assessed to ensure that they have low levels of the psychoactive component THC.

As a company, Invegrow has been a pioneer in leading the cause for Industrial Hemp in Malawi, investing significant time and resources in promoting awareness about the crop in the country.

All eyes on Malawi as the first crops are due to be harvested. For more information on this formidable entrepreneurial partnership, visit their website at Invegrow.


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