Rule changes, research advance industry in southern Australia

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The hemp industry in southern Australia continues to grow steadily. Aided by recent law changes, promising research has been conducted and more farmers are interested in growing hemp in the region. Similarly, in April 2017 hemp food for humans was made legal in Australia, and this has boosted the industry across the continent.

In the state of South Australia, the Industrial Hemp Act 2017 was passed by the State Parliament in April 2017. It followed on from similar hemp legislation and regulatory frameworks being established in Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales.

In July 2017 a public consultation process occurred to determine the regulations governing the cultivation and processing of hemp in the region.* Subsequently, the Industrial Hemp Regulations 2017 came into effect in November 2017.

SA trials are continuing

Members of South Australia’s new hemp industry recently met for the first time to discuss preliminary results from research trials. These had been conducted to determine how five hemp varieties performed on sandy soil and clay soil. The varieties included seed from China, Pakistan, and Europe, as well as an Australian bred variety. Aspects such as sowing rates, growing periods and other factors were evaluated. Field trips were also held for the public to learn more in February of this year.

The research was led by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) who had previously undertaken hemp trials in 1995. SARDI is due to conduct a new trial of six varieties beginning this month. Other recent hemp research from South Australia includes the assessment of grain from 20 seed varieties for food use by the University of Adelaide.

Ten licenses approved

At the hemp industry meeting it was revealed that 10 licenses for cultivating and processing have been approved by the South Australian State Government.

“The number of industrial hemp licenses approved has increased and there has been a lot of interest in the industry,” Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said. “The creation of a new industrial hemp sector in the state is an exciting prospect and is great news for farmers as it provides another opportunity to diversify their operations.”

Although a new industry in southern Australia, it’s hoped the crop will boost the economy. “With the current predictions, the emerging new industry could have a farm gate value of up to $3 million in five years,” Whetstone said.

Want to learn more about Australian hemp? Hear Elixinol Global CEO Paul Benhaim speak at Hemp Today’s Asian Hemp Summit in Kathmandu, Nepal, Feb. 1-2, 2019. Benhaim is one of the world’s leading experts in hemp foods and CBD and led the efforts to open the Australian market for hemp foods for human consumption.

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