Italy’s Umbria region has ambitious hemp plan based on fiber

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A bill that would establish a hemp development program in the Italian region of Umbria envisions a supply chain based primarily on hemp fiber and hurd. The measure, introduced this week by 5-Star Movement leader Tomas De Luca, also emphasizes hemp’s potential to clean up contaminated land through phytoremediation, and phyto-purification of water.

“The absence of a processing center in central Italy offers a great opportunity for our region to become a central hub of the hemp supply chain,” De Luca told the Umbria Notizie web site.

EU & state funding

The proposed law aims to “support, through state and European funds, those who want to develop new businesses and give impetus to new projects; but also those who carry out research and development activities regarding the use of hemp in every possible field,” De Luca said. It would push development of an industrial hemp supply chain spanning farming to production, based on research into fiber applications, and embracing farms, cooperatives, consortia, and independent businesses.

Specifically, Umbria officials are looking closely at the potential in hemp-fiber-based bioplastics and biopolymers, as well the natural textile and fashion sectors. They also envision development of business in hemp hurd’s applications in the green building sector and construction of anti-seismic buildings.

Sustainability goals

Supporters say the legislation is also designed to address agriculture sustainability goals in compliance with European and state provisions. “Hemp is particularly suitable for the remediation of soils in which hydrocarbons and heavy metals are present, especially chromium and nickel,” De Luca said. “Unlike other plant essences, whose only posthumous use to phytoremediation is the incineration of biomass or disposal in landfills, hemp fibers can be reused, building a real circular supply chain.”

Valerio Mancini, President of the Second Council Commission on Economic Activities and Territorial Governance, is also reported to be in support of the measure, which was presented before his panel this week. Commission hearings with hemp stakeholders regarding the law are already scheduled, and Mancini has ordered technical and financial studies to guide those discussions.

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