Hemp farmers and the hemp fibre industry will be able to tap into new markets and increase their profitability with an investment from the Harper Government. Member of Parliament James Rajotte (Edmonton-Leduc), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, today announced an investment for the Hart Fibre Trade Company to help develop the first Canadian scutched hemp processing system-a novel method used to straighten plant fibres in order to make high-quality textiles.
"This investment is yet another example of the Harper Government helping farmers innovate and continue to drive the economy," said MP Rajotte. "There is high demand for value-added hemp textiles in overseas markets, and this innovative process will help farmers capture more value from their crop while opening the doors to potential new markets."
The investment of $938,000 will help produce higher-value hemp using a process that straightens out the fibres so they can be used to meet the quality requirements in textile fabrication.
This process will allow processors to use sustainable, locally grown raw material to produce export goods out of hemp fibres, a high value-added agricultural product that is considered an attractive alternative to cotton. Hemp production is a growing industry in Canada with acreage that has almost doubled over the past year and a projected target of 100,000 acres by 2015.
"This investment from the Government of Canada is very important to this project," said Zigang Ren, President of Hart Fibre Trade Company. "It strongly pushes the Scutched Hemp Processing System project forward, builds our core competitiveness, and creates more marketing opportunities for the Canadian hemp textile material industry."
This Harper Government investment is being provided through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), a five-year (2009-2014), $163-million initiative that aims to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. In Alberta, the regional component of CAAP is delivered by the Agriculture and Food Council (AFC) of Alberta.