Tasmanian Botanics cultivation manager Max Edgley has been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship for cannabis cultivation.
The scholarships aim to increase farming knowledge and skills globally and give recipients the opportunity to travel abroad to study agriculture via a A$30,000 bursary.
Edgley said exposure through programs like Nuffield Australia will help the cannabis industry attract researchers and horticulturalists and drive sustainable growth.
He added: “The Nuffield Scholarship will allow me to travel to countries with more mature cannabis industries such as Canada, the US, Spain, Germany, UK, and the Netherlands.
“I’m hoping to look at emerging and innovative horticultural technologies and techniques that can be utilised for producing the highest quality cannabis products. I want to focus on things that will drive product quality and reduce the cost to patients, so I will be looking at everything from the cultivation aspect to post-harvest technologies and value-adding opportunities.”
Edgley is also interested in exploring where the industry might be headed from a regulatory perspective. He added that with industry growth and increased availability to patients, there will be opportunities and challenges for local producers.
He hopes that by learning from other countries, Australia can be well placed to compete in the global cannabis market in the future.
“I’d love to be able to help the local industry develop innovative and sustainable production systems that will enable us to deliver high-quality medicinal cannabis locally and internationally at a low cost,” he said.
“Australia is in a really great position to be a global leader in the medicinal cannabis space. We have a great climate for growing cannabis and a strong existing pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.”
Edgley said the scholarship shows that the medicinal cannabis industry is being taken seriously as an area of farming and cultivation in Australia.
He added: “I think it’s great that the cannabis industry is being recognised as a significant and expanding horticultural industry. We have some really great producers in Australia and there is a lot of excitement about where the industry might head over the next five to 10 years.”
Edgley’s Nuffield Scholarship is supported by JM Roberts Charitable Trust and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture.