By Steve Elliott
Demand for hemp has grown to the point that it is exceeding the supply in Canada, according to one industry expert.
"You talk about about canola being the miracle crop? Well, hemp has even more uses," said Kim Shukla of the Manitoba-based Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, reports Dave Simns at CNS Canada.
According to Shukla, most of the demand comes from the United States. Smoothies, cereals, hempseed milk, salad dressing aand biodiesel fuel are a few of the most popular uses for industrial hemp.
Protein powder is another common hemp product, Shukla said, and it's now catching on with the general public rather than being limited to its previous niche int eh bodybuilding community.
"That's where we're seeing it," Shukla said, "in the smoothie market for people's breakfasts."
Canada's 2015 hemp crop is estimated at about 100,000 acres, roughly the same size as last year's. The crop looks to offer a typical yield, despite some periods of drought in Alberta according to Shukla.
Yields between 750 and 1,000 pounds an acre are generally considered "decent," according to Shukla. Those numbers were reached last year, and she believes they'll hit them again this year.
"We're expecting decent yields based on the reports back," she said.
An estimated 90 percent of the yield has already been contracted to five key hemp processors across Canada, according to Shukla.