By Staff, country-guide.ca
Market research and development, quality control and processing capacity are among the goals of a new national strategy mapped out by Canada's industrial hemp growers.
The strategy was rolled out Wednesday at the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance's meeting in Winnipeg, mapping out the market potential and obstacles in the food, fibre and oil markets, as well as in hemp production and plant breeding.
Manitoba was among the "earliest adopters" of industrial hemp as a crop, as well as the necessary processing technologies, provincial Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk said in a release. The provincial and federal governments funded the strategy's development through their joint Agri-Food Research and Development Initiative (ARDI).
"This new strategy shows how far we've come while also identifying the opportunities and challenges that we must tackle for sustainable growth," she said.
Among the supports needed from private and public business and research partners for a hemp industry, as per the new strategy, are:
* development of commercial-scale hemp fibre processing and cost-effective hemp oil processing, plus access to risk capital for processing and manufacturing projects in those markets;
* domestic and international market research, as well as work to maintain existing market access;
* gauging the environmental and economic advantages of using hemp-based products compared to petroleum-based products;