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Govt licensing to promote commercial industrial hemp cultivation

Apr '08
Australia is an ideal place for hemp cultivation which is widely used in the textile industry as fibre. States like Queensland and Flinders Island have made necessary legislative changes for allowing commercial industrial hemp farming.

However, lack of raw materials to justify investment in manufacturing facilities has inhibited the production of a variety of hemp fibres.

Recently, Mr Ian Macdonald, Primary Industries Minister told the media that following a few changes, hemp cultivation will have the potential to become a lucrative industry. According to him, industrial hemp fibre produced in New South Wales (NSW) could pave the way for the establishment of a new viable industry that creates and sells textiles and cloth products made from locally grown hemp.

Mr Macdonald also firmly believes that there is growing support from the agricultural sector for the development of such a new industry. This is a direct result of the environmentally-friendly nature of industrial hemp and a perceived interest for hemp products in the market.

Most importantly, the State Government is planning to introduce a licensing scheme that will allow farmers to grow industrial hemp for use in textiles and skincare products.

However, state authorities are striving to ensure that commercial growing of industrial hemp for does not promote illegal drug growing.

Expert reports show that the state of NSW yielded 10 to 20 tons of dry stem hemp per hectare which was similar to yields reported in other states in Europe.

Moreover according to the Hemp Industry Association, retail market in North America for hemp textiles and fabrics exceeded US $100 million in 2007 and is continuously growing at the rate of nearly 10 percent annually. This shows that the global demand for hemp is on the rise considering the fact that has diverse usages in various industries.

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