The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking to help Ukraine’s battered economy by bolstering imports of its hemp seed.
Ukrainian hemp — a cousin of marijuana — lacks the active ingredient that gives pot smokers a high, and is prized for commercial and industrial applications. Hemp seed can be used in high-protein oils or for making paint and plastics.
“We are now involved in trying to figure out ways in which we might be able to use the industrial hemp seeds that are created in the Ukraine in the U.S.,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said yesterday in an interview.
Ukraine, the world’s fourth-biggest producer of hemp seed, is seeking aid from the International Monetary Fund and other nations as it struggles with a four-month political crisis capped by Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The currency has plunged almost 25 percent against the dollar this year. Ukraine is seeking as much as $20 billion from the IMF, which may announce a decision as soon as today.
President Barack Obama has urged Russia to de-escalate the crisis over Ukraine or face more sanctions should it encroach further into the east of the country after its annexation.
– Read the entire article at Bloomberg.