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Fiber processing plant will put Dauphin

Posted on September 20, 2005

Dauphin, Manitoba, — With 80 per cent of the continent’s narcotic-free hemp grown here, and one of the world’s largest hemp fibre plants slated for construction next year, Dauphin is laying claim as Canada’s hemp capital.

“We hope to lead the way,” says Don Dewar, a Dauphin-area grower and president of Parkland Bio Fibre Ltd., a co-op of 50 growers who are behind the processing plant.

Hemp production was banned in Canada in 1938 because hemp and marijuana look exactly the same. Narcotic-free hemp was legalized again in 1998.

The drive up Highway 10 into Dauphin gives a jolt to the nasal cavities. If you fail to notice the fields of towering, two-metre high hemp swaying like trees beside the road, you won’t miss the pungent, incense-like smell.

The proposed processing plant will have an immediate market selling hemp for paper and cardboard recycling.

Recycled cardboard requires 18 per cent new fibre, and hemp makes stronger product and increases the times it can be recycled.

The facility will also produce fibre mats, which hold more moisture than existing mats, for hanging baskets for horticulture.

The plant will be able to process 36,000 tonnes of fibre per year, and will require 20 full-time staff.

The facility is scheduled to open in about one year.

Copyright © 2005, The Brandon Sun. All rights reserved.