Manawatu, New Zealand — Foxton could be the best region locally for cropping hemp.
The former flax town has the right soil and best climate for growing industrial hemp, which needs a dry, friable soil and plenty of sunshine.
Greens co-leader and hemp advocate Rod Donald said areas that have grown flax before are ideal for the crop.
On Thursday, the Government signalled that licences for growing hemp could be issued soon for crops to be planted in the spring. In 1997 the Ministry of Health recommended a licensing system be set up for farmers who want to grow hemp. Growing hemp is illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act, which outlaws all varieties of cannabis, including hemp.
Manawatu-Rangitikei Federated Farmers grains chairman Hugh Dalrymple said the decision was supported by Federated Farmers and seen as an extra option for arable farmers.
He said the Manawatu-Rangitikei could be a likely place to grow hemp, and with the region likely to warm by a half to one degree in the next 20 years, it might become more suitable.
“This (the decision) can only increase the diversity of crops we can grow in the region.”
The most likely place for hemp to be grown is the Motueka region, but because it needs little nitrogen or other fertilisers, it can be grown with varying degrees of success anywhere.
New Zealand imports about $1 million of hemp products. Most is used for making fabric.
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