Hemp seen as key to development in Danube Region countries

Countries in the Danube Region have put hemp at the center of a roadmap for the EU’s DanuBioValNet project that aims to develop a sustainable growth policy for bio-based value chains.

“Without significant acceleration of the bioeconomy in the Danube Region, the ambitious goals of the European Commission Bioeconomical Strategy will not be met in the foreseeable time horizon,” the group said in a statement. “Hemp has the best prerequisites to become the crop for the future.”

Good climate for hemp

Citing a 400% increase in EU farmland under hemp in recent years led by France, Ukraine, Hungary and Romania, the group noted that the Danube Region’s climate in the southern half of the North Temperate Zone is ideal for hemp cultivation.

The group recommended formation of hemp sector clusters in Slovakia and Czech Republic, increased efforts at education, knowledge sharing and research on hemp across the entire Danube Region, and harmonization of regulations governing the crop.

Addressing EU bio-goals

The recommendations came out of a recent meeting held in Prague to roadmap the DanuBioValNet initiative, which aims to help meet goals of The European Commission Bioeconomical Strategy. Representatives from Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Slovakia were hosted by the Czech Republic’s National Cluster Association, a partner in DanuBioValNet, a cross-clustering partnership looking at innovative ways to develop a bio-based network for the Danube Region, which stretches from the Black Forest in Germany to Romania, Ukraine and Moldova on the Black Sea. The effort seeks to support regional development by diversifying the local economy through bio-based value chains to replace non-renewable resources, especially crude oil.