‘Swazi gold’: grandmothers in Eswatini growing cannabis to make ends meet

In the poverty-stricken kingdom, an older generation rely on growing marijuana to feed children orphaned by Aids epidemic
The Guardian (UK)
Thursday, September 2, 2021

eswatini cannabis womanIn Nhlangano, in the south of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), the illegal farming of the mountainous kingdom’s famous “Swazi gold” is a risk many grandmothers are ready to take. In what is known locally as the “gardens of Eden”, a generation of grandparents are growing cannabis, many of them sole carers for some of the many children orphaned by the HIV/Aids epidemic that gripped southern Africa. Currently, there is only one legal Eswatini cannabis grower: the US-based Profile Solutions Inc has a licence to grow and process medical cannabis and hemp for a minimum of 10 years. But, despite the risks, the Swazi gold grandmothers do not want to join the legal market: “Legalising weed might be a threat to our market, as prices might drop. We want the current situation to remain in place.”