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Farmers’ high hemp hopes

Posted on April 5, 2005

Belfast, United Kingdom — Ulster’s farmers could hit new income heights if they start growing hemp.

Their English counterparts have already discovered the rewards of harvesting the 4,500-year-old plant.

The crop, it is claimed, offers excellent financial returns because its oil and fibre are in great demand.

“It is simple and quick to grow, requiring comparatively few inputs and is harvested conventionally by combine,” says Clifford Spencer, chairman of The Springdale Group, which is spearheading a hemp growing programme in the UK.

“We have excellent markets for the seed and the plant.”

“The seeds are crushed to produce oils for various foods and other uses, while the seed husks are used in animal feeds.”

“The plant’s fibre is one of the longest and strongest natural fibres around.”

While it resembles the plant which produces the narcotic drug, it cannot be used for that purpose.

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