Poland’s state-owned Institute of Natural Fibers & Medicinal Plants (IWNiRZ) said it has signed a contract with two US-based hemp firms to sell certified planting seed in The Americas. IWNiRZ also will work with the U.S. companies — Colorado-based International Hemp Solutions (IHS) and Bija Hemp, an IHS-affiliated seed specialist — on cultivation research, the parties said in a press release.
“It is the largest contract for the sale of industrial cannabis seeds in the history of Poland . . . ,” IWNiRZ claimed in the release, “(And) the largest import contract for industrial cannabis seeds to the USA after World War 2.”
40 tons in first deal
The first deal signed among the parties involves a long-term, exclusive contract to provide Białobrzeskie sowing seeds – a Polish hemp seed and fiber variety. Plans call for IWNiRZ to provide an initial shipment of 40 tons, followed by a 150-ton shipment before eventually ramping up annual shipments to 250 tons annually.
Colorado-based Bija Hemp specializes in hempseed genetics and hemp farming, and is a licensed importer of seed to the U.S. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of IHS, a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC). Principles in Bija are Hana Gabrielova, CEO, Hempoint, Czech Republic, and a leading international hemp industry consultant; Rick Trojan, an American investor, advisor and owner of a variety of companies in the cannabis space; Dennis Brovarone, a senior attorney at Hoban Law Group (Colorado); and Eric Carlson, a Colorado-based hemp entrepreneur. Other strategic partners are Adams State University (Colorado), The Hemp Connoisseur, a U.S.-based media company; and the Industrial Hemp Research Foundation (USA).
Goal to develop seed varieties
The parties say their joint research will be aimed at developing new hemp varieties and boosting crop output. Bialobrzeskie and the Polish hemp strains Tygra and Beniko already have passed the seed certification program under the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA). CDA said the strains performed better than others as per the program’s standards, according to IWNiRZ. The Tygra and Beniko strains, both of which are hemp-and-fiber cultivars, are represented in the USA by Schiavi Seeds, Lexington, KY.
IWNIRZ has nearly 90 years experience in the cultivation, breeding and processing of industrial hemp. The state-owned institute operates under the Polish Ministry of Agriculture. The Institute announced earlier this year that it had developed Henola, a new hemp variety that produces four times more seed yield for edible oil than typical hemp plants.
Meeting EU agriculture goals
IWNiRZ said the agreement with the Americans meets Polish agriculture priorities for trade development and access to export markets, and implements provisions of the Ministry’s programs regarding the development of Polish seed and seed exports. The institute said the resulting growth in demand for seed will cause a “significant” increase in Polish hemp fields and the development of Polish agriculture in terms of higher profitability, biodiversity, and market expansion.
To help meet the demand expected from the deal, IWNiRZ said it will provide subsidies of up to 1,000 Polish złotys (about $283) per hectare (2.5 acres) which could come on top of EU subsidies already available to Polish farmers.