Regional

Westmoreland-based Zimbali Retreats partners with Canadian Yardie Farma to grow medical ganja

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, August 15, 2019

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CANAAN MOUNTAIN, Westmoreland — Zimbali Retreats, a rustic tourism resort enterprise in the hills here, has forged a partnership with Canadian investors Yardie Farma, in a move to marry their business into the burgeoning medical marijuana sector.

The western Jamaica-based company, operated by entrepreneurs Mark and Alecia Swainbank, and the Barry and Prity Driedger-owned Yardie Farma, are now busy preparing a section of the 14-acre property on which Zimbali Retreats sits in Canaan Mountain to cultivate the medical cannabis plants.

The preparation is aimed at meeting the approval of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), which recently issued them with a conditional licence.

According to Mark, preparation is now more than 60 per cent complete.

More than 90 per cent of the food on the menu of the five-star Zimbali Retreats' restaurant is cultivated on the lush parcel of land, which boasts a river.

The property is located in the woodlands just outside of the resort town of Negril.

The Swainbanks, who both embrace the Rastafarian faith, have expressed their delight at the possibility of them becoming a part of the cannabis sector after the alleged atrocities suffered by small ganja farmers in Westmoreland and across other sections of the island.

“I am actually proud because you know over the years Rasta people get fight feh weed, who don't get killed, get locked up. Girls like me get terrorise for weed, so give thanks to Yardie,” Alecia expressed.

The Canadians, who own a house in Negril, are also elated about the union.

“We have had a home in Negril for several years and were looking to spend more time in Jamaica. We found it in partners Mark and Alecia Swainbank, the owners of Zimbali Retreats on Canaan Mountain. A perfect opportunity,” Barry Driedger stated in a release.

The structures at Zimbali Retreats, which boasts a gift shop, a stage area, where drumming is performed; a bar, cooking studio, where diners meals are prepared before their eyes, and seven cottages, are all constructed from timber.


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