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MANZINI – As support for the legalisation of dagga, a South African based company is promising to take the nation out of the financial crisis and make it have a surplus budget.

Deo Gloria Farming, an agricultural company which is controlled and managed by the Protea Group based in Pretoria, South Africa, has shown interest in growing marijuana, which is widely known as dagga in the country. According to an impeccable source, a three-member delegation from Protea Group visited the country last month with the sole purpose of seeking the procedures they needed to follow to acquire land and a permit to grow dagga for medicinal use only. He said the company had a vast market overseas for the herb, which is currently illegal in the country. The source said the delegation’s emissary was Matsapha Mayor Sandlane Zwane, who is also a former member of the King’s Advisory Council, Liqoqo.

Hendrik Taljaard, who spoke on behalf of Protea and Deo Gloria Group, confirmed their wish to register and establish a new entity in the Kingdom of Eswatini. He said the new entity would have a new name that represented the country and their proposed venture. He said the land requirement would be determined in proportion with the anticipated growth. “Initially, we will require up to 500 hectares of designated agricultural land if and where applicable and available. We expect exponential economic growth,” he said. He said their goal was to use their agricultural experience to enrich the lives of the people and to promote economic growth for all to benefit and prosper.

He emphasised that they believed that this could be possible and attainable through their farming and development expertise. “Economists have estimated that with the proposed investment, the Kingdom of Eswatini’s gross domestic product (GDP) has the probability to increase as much as over 300 per cent,” Taljaard said. It is worth noting that according to the Central Bank of Eswatini website, GDP is estimated to have increased by 1.9 per cent in 2017, an upward revision from the earlier projection of 1.0 per cent. The improvement in economic performance (relative to the previous projection) is primarily a result of better output in the tertiary sector, which grew more than expected. Economic growth is projected to be weaker in 2018, but is expected to pick up in the medium term. Real GDP is projected to grow at 1.3 per cent, which is lower than the initial projection of 2.8 per cent. This downward update for the 2018 outlook is mainly due to slower anticipated growth for the secondary and tertiary sector.

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