History made in Costa Rica, as first hemp authorization is granted

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An agriculture conglomerate has received the first authorization to grow and process hemp in Costa Rica under a recently signed resolution from the country’s agriculture ministry.

Farming and food conglomerate Ingenio Taboga SA said it plans to plant hemp and build a processing factory at a 150-acre site.

Taboga, based in Bebedero de Cañas, Guanacaste, lists products in alcohol-based sanitizers, specialty sugars, natural sweeteners, protein powders and CBD on its website.

‘Extremely important

“For the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), the development of responsible and efficient agricultural activities with significant agro-export potential is extremely important,” said Agriculture Minister Víctor Carvajal, who signed off on the Taboga license.

The minister said seven hemp more projects are being considered for authorization, with approval expected soon.

Under rules approved by agriculture and health officials in September, hemp farming and production licenses are intended to be inexpensive and widely available in Costa Rica. Individuals and legal entities can be authorized to grow and process hemp, and rules are set for post-harvesting, storing, transporting, product manufacturing, marketing, importing and export of health, food and industrial products.

1.0% THC rule

Costa Rica’s rules set the limit for THC in hemp plants at a full 1.0%, meaning CBD production in the country will be more efficient because CBD rises in hemp plants in proportion to THC. Most countries around the world follow a generally accepted limit of 0.3% THC as the dividing line between hemp and marijuana.

Industry advocates in Costa Rica say establishing a robust hemp sector can spark development of agricultural value chains by bringing economic and social opportunities to the country’s rural areas, and contribute to the growth of the pharmaceutical industry.

Agriculture in CR

Agriculture makes up about 6.5% of Costa Rica’s GDP, and employs 14% of workers. Main exports include bananas, pineapples, coffee, sugar, rice, vegetables, ornamental plants, corn, potatoes and palm oil. Costa Rican farmers and multinational corporations operating in the country manage plantations while indigenous communities survive on subsistence farming.

Applications to sow and process hemp in Costa Rica can be sought from the National Directorate of Agricultural Extension of MAG. There is no charge for license applications.

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