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Under the Lights: Q&A with Atiyyah Ferouz, CEO, AgCann

In this interview, Atiyyah Ferouz addresses her background in consulting, post-harvest practices for growers, and new Canadian market prediction insights.

September 27, 2022  By Atiyyah Ferouz

2H Media

But I really hope in the next two to three years, with more education exposure, we can start to see a bit of that change in the market. And I think that the driving reason for the volatile market is definitely consumers. And the second is oversupply.

GO:  Attiyah, what did you study in school? 

AF: I did my master’s degree in plant biotechnology and genetic engineering, and I had always wanted to eventually go into the agricultural space. When cannabis legalized in Canada, I thought it was a really good opportunity to transition over and work in a fast paced and exciting industry, but to also use all the knowledge that I gathered during my graduate degree.  

GO: When did you start your consulting business? 


AF: I started my consulting business in November 2020 because I felt there were so many processes I was seeing that were not really optimized from a plant health perspective and a commercial perspective; a manufacturing perspective. My first client was in Leamington, Ont., and now the majority of my clients are international, mostly based in Europe. 

GO: What are the most common tips you offer growers to save money and increase profit?

AF: One of the things that I do is look for nutrient brands that are specific to cannabis. In Canada, there are so many options for you to get mixes of your fertilizer from agricultural suppliers, which will save you have a very large chunk of money. 

The other thing is to really invest in somebody who knows IPM. Having an IPM specialist on your team, or at least an IPM consultant, is ideal because integrated pest management is very important. It’s important to deploy strategies that will help you reduce your production costs and increase the general strategy of data driven implementation. 

A client might say to me: “We need to change the air filters here; we want to upgrade the filters.” And I’ll ask why? And they’ll say because the air isn’t clean. And I’ll say: well, how do you know that? 

I do a lot of the changes that I implement. I don’t really like to spend additional money unless there’s really good backing for it. 

What we found is that cannabis companies can sometimes go a bit overkill for things that aren’t really necessary. So, I’m there to help sort out what’s needed from both a plant health perspective and a regulatory perspective. 

GO: What are some of the major no-no’s youve been seeing when it comes to growing cannabis? 

AF: A lot of the major no-no’s that I see are actually in the drying and the curing process. 

There hasn’t really been a ton of data gathering on the topic. There are textbooks — there are things going on — but the big issue is that everybody’s dry is specific to them. There is no standard on how to build a cannabis dry room. 

Everyone designs their own, or they buy chambers and dry down their product. We see a lot of product loss on that end, and we see a lot of people not being able to achieve consistent drying throughout the batch, which again leads to potential mould issues, but also problems with product consistency. 

That’s actually one of the largest areas that I consult in: post-harvest processing. 

Nailing down the trimming process so you’re not abusing the trichomes and nailing down the drying process so you’re ensuring consistency throughout the products, a lower level of water activity, and a good quality finished bud. 

GO: How are people staying competitive in the cannabis market, and what do you think the future holds for Canadian LPs? 

AF: I think it’s going to be tumultuous for the foreseeable future, and the reason is the Canadian cannabis consumer is not that well educated or well versed in product options. 

I think a large part of that is the restrictions and the regulations, which don’t really allow their main contact (budtenders) to give them any real information — they’re very limited on what they can say. 

Licensed producers are very limited on what they can advertise and put out into the media. And, unfortunately, what’s provided by the government is very, very minimal. 

So, there’s a lot of confusion about what products to buy, what products to use, how to use the products, and what some of the options are. 

I also feel like this whole obsession with over 20 per cent THC is really just a lack of consumer education and maturity in the market, which to be honest, I don’t foresee miraculously changing overnight. 

But I really hope in the next two to three years, with more education exposure, we can start to see a bit of that change in the market. And I think that the driving reason for the volatile market is definitely consumers. And the second is oversupply.

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