ISSUE 6Growing an IndustryThe Hemporium TeamHemporium's tagline has always been innovate educate cultivate. We have innovated through all the product we have developed over the years and done plenty of educating throughout talks at exhibitions and conferences and various media outlets. Right now, we want to focus on cultivation.
Cultivation means to foster growth and to refine and I'm going to look at how we've used this term across our business and how we plan to use this going forward.
When it comes to our brand, Hemporium, we have focused plenty of energy and resources into cultivating something that is recognisable and stylish. We have cultivated the Hemporium brand to be associated with eco-friendly living, natural materials, alternative lifestyle and responsible consumerism. What most people do not realise is that it takes years of effort and investment in order to create a brand that is recognisable outside of your sector.

This is going to be one of the challenges for the cannabis industry going forward as we don't only want to be preaching to the converted but want to attract other customers. Those who may not see cannabis in a positive light, or are not involved in the cannabis scene at all. Creating brand guidelines that you stick to is incredibly important. Having constant and repetitive messaging that stick in the minds of your target market is crucial in order to create a brand that is memorable and recognisable.
Right now, it is also important that we cultivate a thriving industry together. We are all elevating the perceptions and reputation of cannabis and cannabis products. We need to work together to break down the many stigmas that the plant has unnecessarily received. We need to abide by quality standards and make sure that we are compliant to regulations.

At the same time, we should be engaging with the regulators to ensure that the regulations are not so onerous that they discourage development of the industry. The best way to do this is through joining associations like the cannabis trade association of Africa that promote fair and science-based regulations.

Obviously, a key focus to many in the industry right now is the cultivation of actual plants. Without this we know we will never have a truly thriving local industry. We cannot continue to import our raw materials when our own country is perfect for the cultivation of cannabis and can really use all the jobs and opportunities this industry will create. Before we begin cultivation though it is important to decide what our objectives are and what we want to harvest. Different cultivation methods are needed if we are growing for hemp, adult use or certified medical grade. All the agricultural inputs and equipment need consideration as well as understanding the climate and soil where you are growing. Pest protection, harvesting, packaging and storage are also important aspects of this process.
A key aspect to the industry which still needs more focus and cultivation is the processing of the raw materials into the various end products that the consumers demand. We need to ensure that a local market is created and stimulated throughout every facet of the industry including processing, manufacture, packaging and delivery.

What is also evident is that the industry is going to be made up of individuals who are committed, driven, focused, and have the perseverance necessary to see this over the line. In order to do this, we all need to focus on our personal cultivation too. And by this I don't mean just the plants at home. Personal growth, especially when you aim to lead an exceptional life, is a practise and covers the areas of physical wellness, mental health, consciousness and more in order for us to be true leaders in society.
We hold the seeds in our hands. If we cultivate them correctly, we can create an industry that provides jobs, houses, nutrition, healing, peace and more. But we must be committed to cultivating to the highest standards from the seed to shelf to self.