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How to safely source and buy hemp cultivation seed from Europe

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By Robin Destiche | Hempoint s.r.o.

Officials in Indiana recently warned farmers about unscrupulous hemp seed vendors they say are currently active in the state. Some growers complained about paying for seed they never received. Others reported that seeds they purchased don’t match what’s on the label. 


Horror stories about hemp cultivation seed deals gone bad aren’t new. As the renewed hemp industry races ahead, unscrupulous players are always standing by ready to take advantage of the enthusiasm. Stories of seeds that produce “hot” crops with over-the-limit amounts of  THC, underperform against promised yields or are otherwise deficient are common among growers.

Supplier checklist

Buying hemp planting seed can be tricky. To make sure you’re purchasing quality seeds from a qualified buyer, here are the key things you should take into consideration when evaluating suppliers:

  • Is the supplier a registered distributor of hemp planting seed?
  • Are they accessible? Do they communicate well?
  • Are they the growers of the varieties they are offering? Or do they work directly with the breeders who produce this seed?
  • Do they have access to the farming information and best practices from the breeder or owner of the seed?

At the same time you’re carrying out your investigation of seed suppliers, you should check your local laws and regulations for information regarding which EU hemp varieties can be legally imported and grown in your state or country. Regulations for hemp cultivation and production are usually connected to drug laws, so depending on where you live, the process can be complicated. 

Start the order process

Once you’ve decided on a supplier, you’re ready to start the order process. Draw up a detailed list of the varieties you wish to purchase, indicating the quantities of each. Keep in mind that supplies of certain popular varieties can be limited, so it’s good to have a backup plan that includes alternative varieties in case your first choices are not available — or place your order early! 

Part I: Envisioning a hemp fiber supply chain
Part II: Overview of European certified hemp seed

When planning your order, be mindful that European planting seeds usually come in 25 kg. (about 55-lb.) bags. The more you purchase, the more you reduce the overall cost, as well as the shipping charges. At Hempoint, we also make seeds available in 1kg and 5kg. (~2 lbs. and ~11 lbs.) bags in addition to standard 25kg units, to support small farmers and research organizations.

Next, submit your detailed order and request official price quotations, shipping options and approximate delivery time. Many sellers have online order forms to help you with these details. At this point in the process, a dependable supplier will be available to answer any questions about the seeds you wish to purchase. With all questions answered, the supplier will then send you an official price offer. 

Payment before shipping

Once you’ve agreed on deal terms, the supplier will invoice you for all charges, including shipping costs. Bank transfers require the lowest bank fees, and are therefore the most common way to pay EU vendors. But other options may be available.

Once the supplier receives your payment, the seeds are prepared for shipping. You’ll be able to track your shipment online once the supplier dispatches it. The coronavirus has at times affected the shipping industry, causing delays and high fees, but under normal conditions transport by air freight means you can get your seeds in about two weeks. If you plan ahead, you can ship in a cargo container by vessel. Delivery time can be up to 40 days in this case, but with cost savings.

When your seeds are shipped, you will receive all shipping papers, including the phyto-sanitary document, which is required for import. The original phyto-sanitary document travels with the shipment. But it’s important you maintain your copy in case there are any questions. 

Customs on your shipment is taken care of by an agent. The supplier can arrange the shipping agent, or you can do it from your side. Be prepared to have your shipment delivered, or pick it up promptly once it arrives at any central transit station. It’s possible to get caught with storage charges if it’s not clear to the shipper what should happen to the shipment before reaching its final destination. Just be sure to know who is doing what. 

‘Seed of Hope’

As a vendor of legacy European certified hemp seed, our goal goes beyond business to the mission of spreading this incredible plant all over the globe. And it’s happening. Our company has shipped hemp planting seeds to more than 30 countries in the past four years — across Europe, and to Africa, North America and South America!

If hemp is to reach its full potential, we need companies and organizations that will not only farm hemp, process it into products and create markets, but who take the matter of social responsibility seriously, embracing this miraculous plant for all it can do for human health, sustainability and economic development. The simple act of buying hemp seeds is an expression of good will towards our planet. Call it The Seed of Hope.

Robin Destiche is Operations Manager at Czech-based Hempoint s.r.o., a cultivation seed broker and vertically integrated hemp company that recently marked its 10-year anniversary. His current portfolio includes seed sales, decortication, product development, and partnerships for seed multiplication. He also leads the Tea Infusion unit at Hempoint, which is a leading European supplier of organic hemp teas. Prior to joining Hempoint, Destiche was Business Management Director at U.S. Hemp Brokerage. His past experience includes work in executive leadership in the hospitality industry in the USA.

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