MG Health becomes first African cannabis firm to get the EU Good Manufacturing Practices certification
JOHANNESBURG - LESOTHO-based cannabis producer, MG Health, has made history by becoming the first African company to receive confirmation of the European Union (EU) Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification.
GMP certification is the highest recognition available in the pharmaceutical space and less than 20 companies worldwide meet the stringent GMP standards.
The certification paved the way for cannabis exports to Germany and the wider EU market, the four-year-old company said.
MG Health said the certification effectively opened the global medical markets for the company, and that alignment with GMP standards would give doctors the certainty they require that the product they were prescribing to their patients was consistent, of a high quality, safe and effective.
Speaking during a virtual press conference, GMP chief executive Andre Bothma said the use of cannabis was legal in Germany for medical use and that the country had one of the most stringent requirements for the use of medical cannabis.
“We wanted to find the most stringent standards and make sure that we adhere to those, to generate the global confidence for patients, prescribing doctors and everyone else on the supply chain,” Bothma said.
Bothma said the group which currently has 5 000m² of cultivation space and produced 250kg had ambitions to grow the space to 100 000m² with the potential of cultivating output of 100 tons a year in the near future. Exports would commence in the second half of the year.
“We will start our first exports in June, and we hope to be cash flow positive in September and begin our expansion project just after that,” said Bothma.
MG Health first received a business license to operate as a vertically integrated producer of medicinal cannabis flower and extracts in 2017.
The group, which has created 300 jobs, expects to be a catalyst for lifting many out of poverty through the creation of new jobs and other wealth creation initiatives.
It was already the biggest employer of BSc graduates in the mountain kingdom.
Business development manager Luke van der Nest said the company was in partnership with its German partners currently registering its products on that country database.
“It is not so much about orders flooding in, but it is about having access to patients in our key markets and providing a pure product, as you can get to patients who need it across the world,” said Van der Nest.
MG said that it believed that Lesotho was the ideal place for cultivating cannabis, given the amount of sunlight it received, dry air and access to clean and pure water.