Hemp in WA rides high on top growth

Albany Advertiser - - NEWS - Jenne Bram­mer

WA is on track to have an im­por­tant and prof­itable hemp in­dus­try, af­ter big in­creases in the num­ber of grow­ers and hectares planted last year.

Ac­cord­ing to Hem­pGro, the re­cently formed WA hemp grow­ers’ co-op­er­a­tive, ac­tive li­censed grow­ers in­creased from 39 to 70 in 2018, and hectares planted grew from 77 to 193 com­pared with a year ear­lier.

Crops har­vested in Al­bany last year were among the first in the State. Crops were sown around Septem­ber, many with some of the nine tonnes of seed im­ported by Hem­pGro from France, and most will be har­vested in March.

Mean­while, Vasse Val­ley Hemp in Bus­sel­ton has be­come WA’s first pad­dock-to-plate hemp food busi­ness.

In 2017, Vasse Val­ley, owned by Chris and Bron­wyn Blake, un­veiled its Dr Weedy’s Hemp Ale, and in No­vem­ber started sell­ing its own roasted hempseed crum­bles, dukkahs and pastes.

Bron­wyn Blake, who un­til re­cently was chair­man of Hem­pGro, said the fledg­ling in­dus­try still had much growth and de­vel­op­ment ahead but had made some sig­nif­i­cant steps dur­ing the past 12 months.

“More peo­ple are start­ing to lis­ten and un­der­stand the po­ten­tial of hemp and the more peo­ple we have on our side, the faster we can grow to be a prof­itable in­dus­try,” she said.

The surge in plant­ings fol­lows the McGowan Gov­ern­ment’s changes to the In­dus­trial Hemp Act to al­low hemp to be grown with a tetrahy­dro­cannabi­nol (THC) con­tent of up to one per cent — putting it in line with na­tional stan­dards.

Pre­vi­ously, the max­i­mum per­mit­ted level of THC, which is the psy­choac­tive con­stituent of cannabis, in WA hemp was 0.35 per cent.

The higher per­mit­ted THC con­cen­tra­tion level means many more hemp va­ri­eties are avail­able for in­dus­trial hemp pro­duc­tion in WA, par­tic­u­larly for use in food.

The State Gov­ern­ment has of­fered $200,000 in grants, avail­able for re­search into new va­ri­eties suitable for WA con­di­tions and to de­velop pro­cess­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan has said there are op­por­tu­ni­ties for hemp as a high-pro­tein grain for food and bev­er­age pro­duc­tion, and as a strong fi­bre for tex­tiles.

Crops har­vested in Al­bany last year were among the first in the State.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.