Western Australia grants provide spark to hemp stakeholders

The government of Western Australia is providing $200,000 AUD ($145,000 USD) in grants to support the state’s hemp industry.

“There are immense opportunities in hemp and it is early days in the industry – the time in which government can give a little assistance to help the industry take off,” Agriculture and food minister Alannah MacTiernan told local media.

Boosting the value chain

“The feedback we are getting from growers, processors, manufacturers, and businesses is that they need support to establish processing facilities, develop markets and to identify varieties suitable for WA conditions” – issues the grants are designed to address.

Currently, most of the region’s hemp farmers who can expect to benefit from the scheme are based in Jindong, Margaret River and Manjimup.

The grants can be used for a number of purposes once a project is deemed to have industry-wide benefits. Variety testing and processing research are planned as parts of the scheme. Grants also can be used for the development of infrastructure and for studying market opportunities for hemp products.

Full 1% THC allowable

The announcement of the grant scheme comes following amendments made to legislation earlier this year which allows farmers to grow hemp with a higher THC content. In a move to allow more flexibility, farmers in Western Australia can now grow hemp containing up to 1 percent THC.  That’s at the leading edge for allowable THC around the world; most countries observe a 0.3% THC standard, a distinct advantage for Western Australia.

SA also advancing

The news from Western Australia follows the recent announcement from Southern Australia that its hemp industry is growing steadily. Aided by recent law changes, promising research has been conducted and more farmers are interested in growing hemp in the region. Ten licenses to cultivate were issued this year. ****

Applications for the New Zealand Industrial Hemp Grants scheme close on November 30, 2018. – Brian Houlihan

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