For the Future of Hemp in Canada
Regina, Saskatchewan — A New Year brings vision, determination and hope to Canada’s industrial hemp sector. So says the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance / Alliance Commerciale Canadienne du Chanvre (CHTA/ACCC), a national coalition of farmers, processors, marketers and researchers.
“A national group to represent the best interests of this innovative sector is necessary to move Canada’s hemp industry forward,” says Arthur Hanks, Executive Director, CHTA. “Industrial Hemp has been grown commercially in Canada since 1998 and over the past six crop years, there has been many surprise stories as well as unanticipated growing pains associated with this crop. The CHTA/ACCC will help this sector realise its potential.”
The CHTA’s long term vision is to aid the growth of both hemp fibre and seed sectors. Hemp seed foods are attracting nutritional interest as they are high in digestible protein and are also rich sources of omega 3 and omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids. High performance hemp fibres offer technical benefits to developers and manufacturers of sustainable industrial products, including but not limited to nonwovens, biocomposites, building materials and specialty applications in the pulp and paper industry.
“There are numerous uses of the hemp plant, and entrepreneurs are just beginning to develop the ways that hemp can be used,” says Hanks. “One of our major activities of the CHTA this year has been to raise awareness of the health benefits of hemp foods where possible in Canada and the United States, through trade shows, print media and the web. This work needs to continue for 2004 and 2005 to take advantage of the interest we are discovering in the marketplace.”
The startup CHTA’s initial activities have focused on market development work and advocacy, information creation and distribution, and creating an effective national network. Achievements this year included:
- Successful exhibition at the recent Natural Products Expo (September) in Washington DC and the Canadian Health Food Association Show East (October) in Toronto, Ontario
- A successful first Annual General Meeting held in Toronto, Ontario (October)
- Helping to developing quality controls of hemp food through member company’s participation in the TestPledge program
- Development of a corporate brochure to represent the sector as a whole
- Creation of a logo
- Offering a unified voice and real information to inquiries from government, public, industry and media
- Developing a website (www.hemptrade.ca) to serve public and trade.
- Election of a functioning board, and appointment of corporate officers by the Board of Directors.
For 2004, the officers of the CHTA/ACCC are:
- Shaun Crew (Hemp Oil Canada, MB), President;
- Geof Kime, (Hempline, ON), Vice-President;
- Larry Duprey, (Bazura Biz, ON) Treasurer;
- Ruth Shamai (Ruth’s Hemp Foods, ON), Secretary;
- Arthur Hanks (The Hemp Report/Saskatchewan Hemp Association , SK) will continue as Executive Director for 2004.
- David Bronner (Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, CA), Greg Herriot (Hempola, ON),
- Lucie Letourneau (Canolio, QC) are also on the CHTAS/ACCC Board.
In March 2004, CHTA hemp food companies will have two booths at the important Natural Products West show, to be held in Anaheim California. The CHTA is also participating in a trade mission to Germany, to meet with successful natural fibre ventures and to evaluate what technologies may be appropriate for transfer to North America. And with the 2004 growing season fast approaching, CHTA will be active in helping farmers find seed and markets for their crop and helping marketers and processors find the production they need to grow their businesses.
Membership is open in the CHTA to all companies active in the Canadian hemp sector. “As of January 2004, the CHTA has 45 member companies drawn from across the country,” says Hanks. “This support is a indication that we are moving in the right direction.”
The nonprofit CHTA’s projects for 2003-2004 have been made possible with funding from the Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development (CARD) fund of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and industry sources.
Copyright © 2004, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance. All rights reserved.