By Simon Bevilacqua, Sunday Tasmanian
Tasmanian industrial hemp farmers are moving to supply new manufacturing industries in Europe and interstate.
Hemp for clothing, material and food is being touted as a potential multimillion dollar industry for the state.
A delegation from a Queensland-based hemp industry development company and the European Hemp Food Association will visit Tasmania this month.
The delegation will meet growers, the Hemp Tasmania Co-operative Society Limited and bureaucrats to get the venture established.
Growers have about five hectares of industrial hemp in the ground in Southern Tasmania to produce high-grade pure hemp-grain oil.
Australian Hemp Resource and Manufacturer director Phillip Warner said Tasmania had the ideal climate for industrial hemp.
“Tasmania is the best place in the world for producing food and it is ideal for producing high quality hemp,” he said.
Mr Warner said Tasmania was especially suited to high performance varieties grown in Europe.
“Tasmania has a similar summer to Europe,” he said.
“There are a number of farmers in Tasmania growing quasi-commercial crops of high performance varieties.”
“We’re hoping to link them with international and national manufacturers.”
He said hemp could rival the size of the linseed oil industry in the next three to four years on a food basis.
Mr Warner will visit Japan and New Zealand before coming to Tasmania at the end of the month.
Hemp Tasmania Limited director Brandt Teale said hemp was grown in every G8 nation and throughout the third world.
“Overseas, the hemp industry is booming with manufacturing innovations including stable and animal bedding, building materials, fabric and textiles, food, cosmetics and skin care products,” Mr Teale said.
“An example of this is the multimillion-dollar investment that global chains of cosmetics and health product retailers have spent on developing hemp-based, skin care products for worldwide sale, including in Australia.”
Industrial hemp cannot produce drug-like effects if smoked or eaten.
The commercial-use industrial variety does not look like marijuana, which contains high-levels of the drug compound, THC.
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