Hemp around the World
Hemp fields and factories are springing up around the globe.
An estimated 5,500 acres of hemp was grown in England in 1997, ccompared to the 2,800 acres grown there in 1995. One of the largest hemp companies in England, Hemcore, is selling horse bedding made from hemp hurds. They are also working with the textile industry to develop spinning technology.
Hemcore Limited, Stuart Carpenter: tel 44-1-371-820-066
The amount of hemp planted in Germany in 1997 increased by 40% from 1996 to 5,000 acres. While 90% of Germany’s 1996 production was exported to France and Spain for pulp production, 1997’s crop should be processed closer to home as the domestic hemp industry develops.
Ecco, Kay-Dieter Klos: tel 30-8801-970
Hanf Haus, Mathias Brockers: tel 30-614-9884; [email protected]
In 1997, hemp was grown on about 11,000 hectares in France, compared to 7,500 hectares in 1996. The amount of hemp grown in France has been steadily increasing for the past few years, and French fields account for about half of Europe’s total hemp production.
Hemp grown in France is mainly used for bedding and building material. The hemp seed is used to feed birds and in fishing, but so far there’s no use of hempseed in the human diet.
A small portion of French hemp is used to produce textiles, as well as specialty paper for banknotes and cigarette paper.
Eurochanvre, 7 route de Dijon, 70100 Arc les Gray, France; tel 3-84-65-09-50; fax 3-84-65-14-75
Some of the most impressive progress is being made in the Netherlands, where several thousand acres of hemp were planted in 1997. HempFlax, owned by Ben Dronkers of the Sensi Seed Company, has spent many thousands of dollars developing harvesting and processing machinery.
HempFlax’s harvester cuts the hemp stalks into uniform lengths of six feet at a rate of five acres per hour. Their decorticator, which was developed under a veil of secrecy, may be made available to interested concerns in the near future.
HempFlax BV, Marcel Hendricks: tel 31-597-615-516; [email protected]
After a thirty year absence, 330 acres of hemp wer planted in Austria in 1995. The acreage in 1997 was apparently an increase from the 1,700 acres planted in 1996. There are also currently 17 hemp stores in Austria, nearly twice as many from a year ago.
Federal Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Josef Rathbauer: tel 43-7416-521-750; [email protected]
In Poland, there are two factories that make hemp yarn and two that make fabric. Research has resulted in the development of a plasma treatment for hemp paper, three types of hemp particle boards, and chemical free hemp construction materials for houses.
Institute of Natural Fibres, Ryszard Koztowski: tel 48-61-224-815
The loss of subsidies in 1988 caused hemp production in Hungary to decrease dramatically. In 1996, approximately 3,000 acres of hemp were grown within 15 miles of two privatized factories. This is down from five fibre separation factories operating in 1988. Approximately 60% of the hemp grown in Hungary is exported.
Agriculutral Research Institute, Dr. Ivan Bocsa: tel 36-36-489-091
Romania’s 1996 hemp production of 2,500 acres was processed in one of its six factories. Burning hemp hurds even provides a portion of the processing plants’ energy. There are also four spinning mills using the long hemp fibres and four weavers working with hemp. Romania’s hemp processing facilities are currently operating at one-eighth of their total capacity of 40 tons per month.
Holler & Szabo Hemp Textiles, Crisan Liviu: tel 40-32-154-998
In 1949, Yugoslavia produced 150,000 acres of hemp, representing 25% of Europe’s total, and 6% of global production. Only 2,500 acres were planted in 1997.
Hemp, and its closely related cousin, hops, have been studied at a research facility in Backi Petrovac since 1952. There are five fibre separation plants and four processing facilities operating in Yugoslavia. The extraction of hemp seed oil using pressurized carbon dioxide is also being researched.
Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops, Janos Berenyi: tel 381-21-780-565; [email protected]
Russia is host to one of the most ambitious and potentially beneficial programs in the world of hemp. Founded in 1922, The Vavilov Research Institute (VIR) in St Petersburg has collected approximately 500 accessions (varieties) of hemp. This germplasm collection is made up of hemp cultivars from throughout the former Soviet Union, as well as from China, Italy, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Germany, and many other countries.
The value of this collection lies in its genetic diversity. Characteristics such as fibre and seed content, as well as frost and drought resistance, can be bred using the VIR collection as a source of initial materials.
However, the recent breakup of the Soviet Union has left the VIR in dire need of funds in order to preserve the existing collection and to obtain new specimens for analysis and storage. While the International Hemp Association began a five year project in 1993 to help guarantee the survival of the VIR’s collection, additional donations are needed to assure its success.
International Hemp Association, David Pate or Robert Clarke: tel 31-020-618-8758; [email protected]
Vavilov Research Institute (VIR) Fibre Crops Genetic Resources, Sergey Grigoryev: tel 812-314-7836; [email protected]
Australia is growing hemp for research purposes in several states. Their results have been discouraging so far, in part because they are using Northern Hemisphere seed cultivars from France. Seed cultivars from India and Chile are being analyzed to determine it they can be adapted for use in Australia.
Hemp Resource & Manufacture, Carolyn Ditchfield: tel 61-736-95925; [email protected]
1997 was Canada’s fourth year of hemp cultivation, even if it was still restricted to research only. Health Canada has promised that they will have regulations to allow for commercial cultivation ready by January of 1998, meaning that next year should be the first year that real Canadian hemp can be sold for real money.
For the past three years, government-licensed research plots have provided Canadian farmers, manufacturers, and scientists with invaluable first hand experience in growing, processing, and analyzing hemp.
In 1994, Hempline Inc became the first company to legally grow hemp in North America. They are currently developing a process to separate the fibre from the hurds.