Spanish partners have launched a project aimed at developing the country’s Extremadura region as an industrial hemp innovation center. The Extremadura National Agrifood Technological Center (CTAEX) and hemp company Bhalutek Hemp say the initiative will promote development and comprehensive use of the hemp plant, and provide access to cultivation and transformation technologies.
The group hopes to foster new public and private ventures, share knowhow among members and promote research while providing training for scientists, technicians and farmers – along the way establishing the region as a national reference center for hemp research and innovation.
The partners say they have signed on 21 members since recently launching the initiative, including the University of Malaga and the University of Extremadura.
“Given the current exceptional health crisis situation, it is very likely that the economic recession will worsen in the coming years, requiring concrete responses and decisive actions,” CTAEX said in a statement announcing the launch.
“Industrial hemp could offer an opportunity to regenerate rural areas of our region, with a sustainable approach from an environmental, economic and agronomic point of view, thanks to its characteristics and multiple uses,” CTAEX said, noting that Spain’s legal and regulatory structure needs changes if the industry is to mature and flourish.
Juan José Manzanero, president of CTAEX, said changes are needed to allow the “complete development of the sector, with full legal guarantees,” in the way governments in other European countries have developed their hemp sectors.
The initiative has the support of both the president of the Junta de Extremadura, Guillermo Fernández Vara , and the government delegate in the region, Yolanda García Seco.
CTAEX, based in Badajoz, Spain is a private not-for-profit R&D center supported by an association in the agro-food sector. The company has expertise in the development of R&D projects at national level in Spain.
Malaga-based Bhalutek has specialized in hemp genetics since 2012. The company also does scientific research in processes and machinery for extraction and purification, and consults clients in Switzerland, Australia and Uruguay.