David Lenigas, one of the architects of the so-called Gatwick Gusher oil discovery is now involved in another intriguing venture in the vicinity of a major international airport – this time growing weed in Durban.
A joint venture between AfriAg Global Plc (LON:AFRI) and LGC Capital Ltd (CVE:QBA) has struck a deal to acquire 60% of South Africa based company House of Hemp, which has a large greenhouse located in the Dube TradePort AgriZone, within the precinct of Durban International Airport.
House of Hemp’s operation, a 405,000 square foot site, is the only approved indoor growing site in South Africa, signed off by both the South Africa Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health.
"This is an important deal for LGC, that launches the Company straight into the global medical cannabis sector," said John McMullen, LGC chief executive.
He added: “We see a real global competitive edge as we will have minimal capital costs going forward and plenty of scope to cheaply increase the growing footprint within the Dube TradePort AgriZone.
“From an operating cost perspective, South Africa has a highly skilled labour force and the unit costs of electricity, labour and fertilizer are globally very competitive.”
As well as the tangible grow-up itself, McMullen noted that House of Hemp has a “long and established” history of quality research and development in the hemp and cannabis and the new venture plans to use this “superior knowledge” for the business in both South Africa and beyond.
Lengas is chairman of AfriAg and co-chair of LGC Capital (which was set up as Lenigas Cuba, which was initially intended as a vehicle to invest in companies benefitting from the opening up of the Caribbean island to the United States).
A tie-up between AfriAg and LGC was announced last month, with the partnership setting a stated goal of setting up Africa based cannabis production for export into foreign markets where it has been legalised for medical use.