Hemp seen as boon to Marche region of eastern Italy

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Stakeholders in the Marche region of Italy envision a thriving industrial hemp sector active in construction, textiles, bioplastics and food under regional hemp legislation expected to be finalized soon.

The new law has wide application for creation of a complete value chain for industrial hemp, Piergiorgio Fabbri of the 5 Star Movement, a citizen group that backed the legislation, told Canapa Industriale

Existing markets

“The sectors that can use seeds, shives and fiber deriving from the processing of hemp are numerous and already present in the region,” Fabbri said. “The crop can be introduced in rotation, and the expansive capacity in hectares is very high,” he said.

The new legislation promises €360,000 in incentives over 2 years beginning in 2020 to kickstart expansion of hemp operations in the eastern Italian region that sits between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea. The funding is under the EU’s Rural Development Program.

Research underway

Plans call for the production of bricks and panels suitable for anti-seismic construction and adaptation of existing buildings in the quake-prone region, 

University research groups are also studying the potential for production of hemp textiles for shoes, clothing and accessories as well as applications in bioplastics, according to Fabbri.

Expansion of an already fast-growing food sector is also anticipated, Fabbri said, and research is ongoing to identify hemp cultivars and growing methods that will lead to thriving hemp fields in the region.

Research is also underway on advanced processing technology, which is sorely lacking in the region, Fabbri said.

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