EU-Italian funded project aims to develop hemp supply chains in Sicily

Share this:

Sicilian officials say they will launch a broad-based program aimed at developing local supply chains for industrial hemp.

The initiative, “Canapa New Tech” (“New Tech Hemp”), is under the Sicily Rural Development Program (PSR), which invests in agriculture, forestry and environmental protection. PSR, which is jointly funded by the European Union and the Sicilian Region, has not indicated the level of investment.

The project will back the development of new hemp varieties, carry out trials in multiple sites, advance new harvesting methods, support the development of innovative technologies for the extraction of oils from hemp seeds, and promote hemp products.

Organic & conventional

The overall goal is to develop organic and conventional hemp supply chains for the hemp food, cosmetics and textile sectors, the Sicily PSR said in a statement. The one-year program will run from June 2024 to June 2025 in the provinces of Caltanissetta, Catania, Palermo, Ragusa and Messina.

Hemp advocates in Sicily say the region, with its coastal plains and river valleys, is particularly suitable for hemp farming during the spring-summer season.

Salvatore Zappalà, CEO of Millasensi, Bari, Puglia, which won the tender to manage New Tech Hemp, said the program “involves the transfer of technologies and processes to companies to become more sustainable. For example, by recovering waste we can enhance the real estate sector by prototyping new materials.

“From the fiber sector we can obtain bioplastics, looking in particular at the aerospace and nautical sectors, which are highly profitable,” Zappalà said.

Activities of the program

According to PSR, the program will:

  • Strengthen the skills and knowledge of entrepreneurs and operators in the region’s industrial hemp sector.
  • Boost research, technological development and innovation by increasing collaboration among agricultural companies, universities and research organizations.
  • Support the development of consultants and specialists in soil management and sustainable management methods in hemp cosmetics, food and textiles.
  • Apply precision agriculture techniques via multispectral drone remote sensing.
  • Install a weather station to monitor temperature, rain, humidity, wind, soil temperature, electrical conductivity and solar radiation.
  • Carry out greenhouse and field tests on the mechanization of harvesting and processing operations.
  • Apply innovative technologies for the extraction of oil and proteins from seeds.
  • Develop innovative seed flours, and microwave-assisted hydro-distillation of the terpene fractions for extracts from hemp flowers.

A similar initiative, Multicanapa, was launched in Sicily in 2021, co-financed by the Italian state and the EU’s European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

With reporting by Canapa Industriale

Get Hemp Industry Updates

* indicates required

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter & get the latest hemp industry news directly in your inbox.

* indicates required
Scroll to Top