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Botswana: White Men Can't Jump

Herb Fellow

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Okay, hopefully I've grabbed your attention, but to be perfectly honest that headline doesn't have a whole lot to do with this week's column.

A bit of a cheap journalistic trick, actually.

Showbiz buffs will recognize the line from the 'basketball hustler' film of the same name starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson.

I don't want to talk about films, con artists or the inability of many fair-skinned folk to dunk a basketball, but I do want to talk about one of Harrelson's favorite topics - growing cannabis.

He spends a lot of his free time campaigning for the legalization of the plant in the United States.

Many people over there think he's a bit of a crackpot, but if you stop and take a good look at his arguments, you might see the plant has an awful lot going for it.

I, for one, think we should start growing the stuff right here in Botswana.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking...what has this guy been smoking? But I'm not talking about growing marijuana so we can cash in on the drug trade; I'm talking about planting fields of industrial hemp, a perfectly legal crop in most countries other than the States. It has virtually no intoxicating effects, it has lots of practical uses, it can be grown in crappy soil like we have in Pandamatenga, it is environmentally friendly and it makes a whole lot more sense than trying to grow sugar cane in Kasane.

With a growth cycle of only 120 days, hemp is an efficient and economical crop and it one of the most productive and useful plants known to man.

Growing the plant here could also lead to several spin-off industries. Paper, textiles, building materials, food, medicine, paint, detergent, varnish, oil, ink, and fuel can all be made from hemp. Hemp can be grown in most locations and climates with only moderate amounts of water and fertilizer. It also requires little or no pesticides and it replenishes the soil with nutrients and nitrogen.

Sugar cane, on the other hand, is one of the least environmentally friendly crops you could possibly find.
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One of the best argument for planting sugar cane is that it could be used as the feed crop for our very own biofuel industry, and I have to admit that is a strong point in its favour considering the skyrocketing cost of petrol and deisel.

But wait a second, an even better option would be to make biofuels from the oils in hemp seeds and stalks. That way you wouldn't have to chop down a national forest, shoot hundreds of problem elephants, pump loads of water that is needed for other purposes out of the Zambezi or buggar up the same river with the toxic and algea promoting runoff from an over fertilized and pesticide treated sugar plantation.

The fact of the matter is that because it only takes four months to go from planting to harvesting, hemp provides more energy per acre per year than maize, sugar, flax, or any other crop currently grown for ethanol or biodiesel.

Source: The Voice
Copyright: 2007 The Voice (Francistown)
Contact: The Voice
Website: allAfrica.com: Botswana: White Men Can't Jump (Page 1 of 1)


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Hi!!!... i think thats good idea! im tring to legalise cannabis in my country(Estonia),and im intrested growing industrial hemp in Botswana.
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