We watch with interest how the cannabis industry is “budding” right before our eyes, and it is said that Africa has the potential to become the world leader in cannabis products. That makes me proud to be an African. Here in South Africa, we already have lots of successes to celebrate and with the newly appointed policy head, processes should become a lot smoother and faster in getting operations up and running. In this blog we will be looking at how pest control supports the success of the cannabis industry
Cannabis industry’s success in South Africa
South Africa has already achieved many successes in a short space of time by some of the big medicinal cannabis producers like Felbridge, in the Western Cape who were granted the first commercial license to cultivate, import and export medicinal cannabis by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) just 3 years ago. They have since exported dry cannabis flower buds to Switzerland, and tissue culture to Israel. With strides as huge as these it puts South Africa in a good position for further growth in this Industry.
Highlands Investments in Lesotho completed the 8.5 tonne shipment of certified medical cannabis into Europe, which the company says is “one of the largest legal shipments to date”. Just recently, more than 2 tonnes of cannabis was shipped from South Africa to Europe by Canada-based Instadose Pharma Corp.
Something I have just read about is cannabis tourism and how this is taking off in South Africa.
Maintaining hygiene standards in the Cannabis industry
These examples are indicative of the quality of South African products specifically, but also how important it is that we maintain standards and consistently comply with regulations and legislation in this industry.
With all that said, there is a definite shift in the way we look at cannabis. The global medical, wellness and consumer cannabis markets are growing rapidly and there is an increasing need to provide certified, high-quality cannabis to meet product demand and grow SA exports.
The cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and export purposes follows the strict guidelines of SAHPRA which include GMC and GACP compliance, as well as SA legislation as per DALRRD, and current global standards. Also important is the disposal of Cannabis medical waste.
In both our Rentokil and Initial businesses we understand the need for pest control, hygiene and medical waste solutions and we refer to this in our blog from our sister company, Initial Hygiene, on ‘Managing hygiene in the cannabis and CBD Industry‘.
Our sister company, Initial, being the experts in hygiene, will keep your bathrooms and staff facilities germ-free and reduce the risk of cross-contamination in your facility, maintaining high standards of hygiene and cleanliness.
Managing pests in cannabis cultivation and manufacturing
In the SAHPRA guideline document for the cultivation of cannabis and manufacture of cannabis-related pharmaceutical products for medicinal and research purposes it says:
- 6: “Buildings must be designed in a manner that In the SAHPRA guideline document for the protects crops against pests and domestic animals.”,
- 8.3: Harvesting The harvested crop must be protected from pests and domestic animals.
- 8.4: Packaging Packaging material must be stored in a clean, dry place that is free of pests and inaccessible to domestic animals.
- 9: Storage and distribution – Decontamination of the storage area to combat pests must be carried out only where necessary and by authorized personnel.
In a Farmers Weekly article on Integrated pest management for cannabis in March 2022, Thomas Walker says “the two main diseases encountered by cannabis growers are powdery mildew and botrytis.” He also says that “the aim of integrated pest management is to prevent damage or loss by insects or pathogens.” This is extremely imperative during all phases of your cannabis operation. “Planting clones from other facilities will readily introduce pests and pathogens into your facility.” Operations should be monitored closely using “sticky fly traps during the production phase to monitor the crop.”
Excluding and restricting pests like rodents or flies from a growing facility is imperative in this industry as pests can destroy a crop, contaminate or spread disease. At Rentokil, pesticides and chemicals are used sparingly, and non-toxic baits and traps are used where possible for monitoring.
Rentokil’s myRentokil online platform allows our customers the visibility to keep up to date with the services completed on-site, and recommendations provided by our teams, all from a virtual platform. The myRentokil online platform is ISO27001 certified, which is an international standard for information security management and this means that you can have complete confidence that your data is secure. For more information, please get in touch with us.
The importance of air quality
In our previous blog, we explained how “Air quality has been an important topic since the COVID-19 pandemic and is equally important in growing rooms. Fans are sometimes used to regulate airflow and humidity. Without these airflow systems, grow rooms can become a breeding ground for pathogens and pests.
Some larger cannabis cultivators use HEPA grade filters to filter incoming air along with their heating, ventilation and HVAC systems. At Initial, we understand the movement of air and the importance of providing clean air in environments. VIRUSKILLER™ air purification units can kill 99.9999% of viruses in a single air pass. These units will improve air quality and stop the airborne transmission of pathogens, moulds, fungi and so on.”
In all the reading material on growing medical cannabis successfully, it is imperative that a proper plan is in place from the initial start-up following all the necessary regulations. Sourcing the best quality starting materials, clones, seeds or whatever you need must be of the highest quality and standard for the intended purpose. During every stage of the growth or process, the strictest levels of hygiene must be adhered to with a strong focus on cross contamination and guarding against pests.
I’m looking forward to seeing the African continent and particularly South Africa setting the bar and growing to new ‘highs’. Good luck to everyone in the Industry, remember Rentokil Initial is here to support your pest control and hygiene goals, get in touch with us to discuss your requirements.