The industrial hemp business is growing every year with the strong fibers increasingly used for insulation materials and bio-composites, mainly in automotive interiors.
Hemp food products are increasing in market volume and with the extraction of cannabidiol (CBD) for pharmaceutical applications, farmers can maximize profits.
At the 12th International Conference of the European Industrial Hemp Association held in Wesseling Germany, from May 20-21, it was said that in Europe, 18,300 ha of industrial hemp was cultivated and processed in 2014, much more than in the previous years.
In 2015 a further increase to more than 22,000 ha has already been reported – a record cultivation area since growing began 30 years ago.
More and more European countries are starting to cultivate hemp and the major part of the increase is due to organic hemp seed production for the food market and the new demand for CBD. In addition, the increasing demand for fibers demonstrates the great versatility of the plant.
A comprehensive carbon footprint study by the German nova-Institute demonstrated that different natural fibers show a similar and very low carbon footprint compared to glass or mineral fibers.
John Hobson, president of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) informed participants that European hemp fibers will soon be the first natural fiber worldwide with an established sustainability certification. Hemp shivs and seeds will also receive this certificate.