A newly-created international alliance of hemp stakeholder groups has held its first meeting as it embarks on a mission to consolidate the industry worldwide.
The Federation of International Hemp Organizations (FIHO) met March 17 to reveal an interim board and planned activities aimed at addressing key issues that affect the industry.
In a mission statement unveiled during the meeting, the group said it will “bring together industry leaders, market expertise, and resources to speak with one voice on hemp issues at the global level and to identify and create opportunities to scale sustainable hemp production, marketing, and trade to benefit the global hemp industry, consumers and the environment.”
FIHO said it will promote the production, processing, marketing and trade of hemp; facilitate information sharing; identify emerging industry issues; develop position papers; coordinate the development of research and standards; engage in networking and outreach; and promote innovation and technology for hemp production.
Product and process standards, crop protection, and standards for maximum chemical residue levels, seed registration, and maximum THC levels for hemp flowers and finished goods are among the many pressing issues identified by the initiative.
“We are working to provide the conditions the hemp industry needs to flourish for everyone on earth, promoting inclusion, diversity and social and environmental responsibility,” said Ted Haney, President & CEO at the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, who was elected to serve as the interim board’s president.
Interface with key agencies
Announcing their intentions last July, organizers said the new federation will represent hemp stakeholders before global intergovernmental agencies, with a core first objective to remove hemp and hemp extracts from the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
The group said at the time it intends to interface with international agencies such as the World Health Organization, the UN’s Committee on Narcotic Drugs; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; and the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) on matters related to that agency’s Codex Alimentarius, internationally recognized standards for food production and safety.
FIHO also will work on environmental issues and represent the hemp industry before the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is under the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization.
Interim board’s makeup
In addition to Haney, officers elected to the interim board are: Daniel Kruse, President of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), vice chairman; Geoff Whaling, President of the (U.S.) National Hemp Association (NHA), treasurer; and Hongliang Ding of the China Hemp Alliance, secretary.
In other appointments announced, Lorenzo Rolim da Sllva, President of the Latin American Industrial Hemp Association, is chairman of the communication and engagement committee; co-chairs of FIHO’s policy and regulation committee are Lorenza Romanese, managing director of EIHA, and Erica McBride Stark, NHA executive director; and Keith Jones, a past CHTA president, will serve as chairman of the research, standards and sustainability committee.
Other interim directors and the industry organizations they represent are Patrick Atagi, president and CEO at the National Industrial Hemp Council of America; Kyle Bingham, president at the Texas Hemp Growers Association; Hunter Buffington, Chairwoman at the Colorado Hemp Advisory Committee; Gaurav Dixit, general secretary, Uttarakhand Hemp Association, India; Jason Fung, China Hemp Association; Joseph Hickey, board member, Kentucky Hemp Industries Association; and Charles Kovess, secretary, Australian Industrial Hemp Alliance.