Authorizations for growing and processing hemp in Portugal may be further set back as the official responsible for issuing permits at the Directorate-General for Food and Veterinary (DGAV) has left her post.
Stakeholders who recently emailed Teresa Maria Pais Nogueira Coelho, who had served as head of the Variety & Seeds Division at DGAV, said they received return emails indicating she is no longer in the position.
With fiber and grain farmers already having missed the planting window in Portugal due to a lagging authorization system, the latest development could mean that those growing hemp outdoors for CBD flowers may also miss out on crops this year. Outdoor flower crops can be planted as late as mid-July in Portugal.
Humberto Nogueira, vice president of ACCIP, the Industrial Hemp Trade Association of Portugal, said despite the problems this year, he’s hopeful Coelho’s replacement will bring improvement to Portugal’s hemp program.
“We hope the next person who comes in is a bit more informed about European and global markets for industrial hemp, so they can let us work like other European farmers work,” Nogueira said.
Better rules sought
Portuguese hemp stakeholders are pushing for rules changes in a new law covering medical cannabis and hemp they say hamper the industry’s growth.
The law, published last April, covers licensing for the cultivation, manufacture, wholesale trade, transport, distribution, import and export of cannabis-based substances for medical and industrial uses. A previous law from August last year covers industrial hemp exclusively.
While the government recently removed a requirement that hemp farmers must employ a technical manager, questions remain about which parts of the plant may be used, the distribution of EU certified seeds and related costs, and a rule that producers must report highly detailed data on their hemp operations to the DGAV.