Eduardo Mayorga, CEO of Green Health Colombia, has a clear vision of how nascent cultivation firms will distinguish themselves in the rapidly growing cannabis industry. “This market will be about scientific research, production efficiency and standardized processes in quality, supply chain security and good manufacturing practices he told CCI. “To get there we need to combine the best of international and local knowledge.”
SANTANDER: With more than 20 years of experience in the oil & gas sector, infrastructure and free trade zones, Mayorga selected the department of Santander as the base of for Green Health Colombia’s project. As well as enjoying 12 hours of sunlight and temperatures between 8 and 23 degrees Celsius across a range of altitudes, the department’s capital is home of one permanent Free Trade Zone, recognized by the Financial Times for 3 years in a row as one of the 10 best free zones in the world, and two healthcare special free zones, which provides a strong infrastructure and ample workforce for development in the healthcare sector, including doctors and professionals.
As of August the firm had received its licenses to cultivate non-psychoactive cannabis and to process psychoactive and non-psychoactive cannabis for medical purposes and is currently applying for its production quota. They are licensed for 7 hectares of cultivation, and the fully automated pilot greenhouse has a footprint of 2.5 hectares. A processing plant has passed its feasibility study, with equipment due to be imported early next year. Mayorga and his team expect to produce 300,000 grams of product by the end of 2019.
TRANSFER: Knowledge transfer is central to the firm’s strategy. They are currently working on creating knowledge agreements with the National University and the Industrial University of Santander to test CBD and THC levels in their plants, as well as looking to strike up partnerships and alliances with pharmaceutical companies. “In Colombia, there’s very little knowledge about the production of cannabis for medical purposes and the standards it requires. Our aim is to add value, by developing an organic product that allows us to be part of the value chain of the pharmaceutical sector, in the country and abroad” says Mayorga.
FINANCE: Cash-flow is covered until the end of 2018 and Green Health Colombia is currently looking to secure investment by 2019. Mayorga expects that most of the investment comes from outside the country, at least in the short-term and the firm is establishing a corporate structure in Canada. An investment of $3.2m is required for 2019, with a further $6m earmarked for 2020. “All our analysis shows that it’s crucial to secure knowledge, technology and finance from countries such as Canada, USA, Australia and Israel,” says Mayorga. “And we’ve also seen that there is a strong international demand from pharmaceutical companies for well-managed Colombian cannabis projects.”