The lease agreement for these 20 hectares of outdoor land in the Alentejo, signed between Tilray Portugal, a subsidiary of the Canadian company, and Esporão, was revealed this week.
"The additional 20 hectares of outdoor growing space increase the company's ability to supply medical cannabis in Europe and other international markets" Tilray said in a statement.
The company, a “world pioneer in the research, cultivation, production and distribution of medicinal cannabis”, also has five hectares in Portugal, of indoor and outdoor cultivation and a campus in Cantanhede (Coimbra) for production, processing and research.
“With this agreement with Esporão, we get 20 hectares more for outdoor planting” Tilray's source told Lusa, revealing that the planting “was already done successfully in July” and that “the harvest should happen in late September or early October.”
According to Tilray, Esporão is “one of the largest and most sophisticated agricultural companies in Portugal” and will provide “operational and technical support to a team of experts” from the Canadian group, “including horticulturists, growers and quality managers”.
“This new growing site will be used to grow, harvest and dry medicinal cannabis materials,” which will then be transported to Cantanhede for “processing, production and distribution throughout Europe and other international markets,” he said.
Sascha Mielcarek, one of Tilray's European managers, expressed pride in increasing the company's ability to “produce high quality cannabis medical products in Europe using innovative outdoor growing methods”.
Contacted by Lusa, Esporão explained that his participation in this business “is exclusively at the level of service rendering” and stressed the importance of his know-how, since Tilray's production is “outdoors and biological”.
“We feel that the agricultural knowledge and experience in the Alentejo of Esporão, as well as Tilray's global cannabis experience, has potential for long-term value creation,” said Esporão.
The production of medicinal cannabis is not being done on the main estate, but on another company property in the municipality of Reguengos de Monsaraz, “leased by Tilray Portugal exclusively for this purpose” he said.
“Esporão's business will continue to be exclusively the production, marketing and distribution of wines and olive oils,” argued the Alentejo Company.
Tilray was the first medical cannabis producer to successfully import medical cannabis products into the European Union and the first licensed medical cannabis producer in North America to obtain GMP certification according to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) standards.
The Cantanhede factory is the first in the country to produce medicinal cannabis and is expected to secure 200 jobs by the end of the year. It represents a total investment of 20 million Euros.
The Tilray project, which the company has failed to disclose, is the third medical cannabis production to be officially announced to the Alentejo, with one announced for Aljustrel (Beja), RPK Biopharma, a Canadian company Flowr, and another for Campo Maior (Portalegre), from Sababa Portugal.