Tiny Estonia jumped into the top ranks of European hemp growing nations in 2016, planting some 3,500 hectares (8,650 acres), according to the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA). Although a distant second to France (14,500 ha), the jump is huge in Estonia, which reported only 210 hectares of hemp fields three years ago.
Overall, the final EIHA 2016 hemp field report showed about 32,000 ha under hemp last year in Europe. That figure outstrips EIHA estimates from spring 2016, when it had predicted fields would remain flat against 2015 figures, at around 25,000 ha. The EIHA estimates are generally considered to be the most comprehensive data on Europe’s hemp markets.
EIHA attributed the growth to continuing strength in the hemp food and pharmaceuticals markets. The Association’s assessment on hemp pharmaceuticals – driven primarily by CBD – is in spite of problems that have roiled both the U.S. and European CBD markets over the past year.
EIHA also reported Russia as having planted 2,450 ha of hemp last year while Ukrainian farmers cultivated 890 ha.
The Association will give a broader statistical report during its annual conference June 7-8 in Cologne.