Photo: Envato Elements

Two South African students develop high-tech cannabis growing technique

Cannabis and its users have been demonised for decades.


Photo: Envato Elements

With the laws about cannabis use and sale continuing to change, two South African students are busy finding new and more efficient ways to grow the controversial plant.

In South Africa, cannabis can still not be cultivated or sold commercially. There is a lot of hope for a future cannabis industry to become transformative.

Legalising cannabis

There are many examples worldwide of countries that have legalised commercial growth and sale of cannabis. This based on the number of jobs and money it has injected into their respective economies.

One of the most exciting things about so many countries legalising – or at the very least decriminalising cannabis use – has been the fact that the plant and its potential have once again become a subject of study for academia.

While many studies have been conducted to look at the medicinal uses for THC and CBD derived from cannabis, two South African students are looking to improve how the plant can be grown.

High-tech growing techniques

The two Wits University students, Constant Beckerling and Anlo van Wyk are also co-founders of AgriSmart Engineering. They have drawn on several disciplines to develop a growing technique that fully exploits the current state of technology.

The pair utilises bioscience algorithms in conjunction with artificial intelligence to deliver a complete solution. Their technique reliably produces high-yield cannabis crops.

The students are also eager to emphasise that their efforts aim to provide a reliable system to produce high-yield crops. They are not making any claims about the relative strength of the crops their system produces. Beckerling explain:

“Looking at things like potency, increased terpene profiles and concentrations, we haven’t sent it to any labs. We’d still need to complete a side-by-side study. We pride ourselves on being transparent and not promising things we can’t deliver or verify”.

The pair’s work has also not gone unnoticed with their project getting a Special Recognition Award from the Gauteng Accelerator Programme (GAP).

Moreover, the incubator programme looks to identify entrepreneurs who could potentially deliver tech solutions that benefit the country.

“The GAP Innovation Competition is looking for innovators, researchers and entrepreneurs that are working on novel technologies that will improve the efficiency of government service delivery, increase the competitiveness of the local economy and enhance the quality of life of ordinary citizens”.