Industrial hemp has been grown commercially in Canada for the past four years. However, very few farmers chose to grow in 2001.
According to Health Canada statistics, hemp cultivation has seen a serious decline in Canada since the peak of 13,000 hectares in 1999. Only 5,500 hectares were licensed in 2000, and in 2001 a measly 92 cultivation licenses were granted, for only 1300 hectares. This drop is mostly due to questions about the openness of the US marketplace to products made from hemp seed oil.
Boom or bust crop production scenarios are not isolated to hemp. Other crops such as echinacea, borage and ginseng have also experienced dramatic fluctuations in recent years.
Yet Health Canada’s data also indicates other trends are at work, which speak well for the future of this young industry. The 2001 figures identify 51 licensed processors, a climb from last year’s 48 and the granting of 24 export licenses, a doubling of 2000’s figures.
The doubling of export licenses suggests that more companies on both sides of the border are buying and selling hempseed products like oil and dehulled seed. A visit to the local health food store or a surf on the internet confirms that more hemp is reaching the market. Companies in the hempfoods sector are reporting steady growth. So hemp is happening ? it’s just not happening as fast as we were led to believe it would.
? For updates and further information: visit www.votehemp.com and www.hempfood.com
? Arthur Hanks is the editor and publisher of The Hemp Report: tel 306-790-9305; fax 810-314-2138; email [email protected]; web www.hempreport.com