Hemp industry taskforce

Hemp industry taskforce

The NSW Government has established a Hemp Industry Taskforce to support producers and growers in this steadily expanding industry.

The taskforce, made up of ten representatives from growers and industry groups, will play an important role in developing legislation and industrial regulation to aid the growth of this sector.

Hemp is used in over 25,000 products worldwide

Hemp in the spotlight  

Globally, hemp is used in over 25,000 products in nine sub-markets such as agriculture, building materials and textiles. While already a major product, experts predict that the market will quadruple by 2027 to a value of $18.7 billion. In fact, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development reveals that around 40 countries produced 275,000 tonnes of raw hemp in 2019, which was then funnelled into a variety of sectors. 

In NSW alone, the production of hemp is spread across 1,200 hectares of land, more than every other state combined. This industry is highly regulated, reporting 99 percent compliance in the 2022-23 season. Industrial hemp is known to grow on a variety of soil types found in Australia, thriving in temperate and tropical climates with a moderately humid atmosphere.

Lean, green machine 

Aside from its significant economic impact, hemp also contributes to environmental efforts.

According to Jeremy Buckingham, Member of the NSW Legislative Council, “this is a plant which is up to 25 times more effective at capturing carbon than forestry, and which offers almost unlimited potential in a wide range of areas including clothing, construction, foodstuffs, paper, medication and more.”

Hemp is used in products such as oils, food, paper, medication and more.

Due to the modest water requirements, growing hemp is seen as an environmentally friendly process. The plant is also known to sequester four times as much carbon as a standard pine tree.

According to the National Institute of Health, growing hemp can help farmers replenish their soil by killing small crops and weeds. It also serves as a botanical insecticide, and reduces wastage as almost all of the hemp plant can be used in some form.

Hemp is known as a superfood, offering a high amount of fibre, essential fatty acids and omega three. It also helps to lower blood pressure and reduce triglyceride levels, leading to better cardiovascular health.

Endless opportunity 

The new Hemp Industry Taskforce will expand on current regulations and methods to encourage future growth. The ten representatives will discuss how to best support the development of the industry, including the expansion of rural jobs.

The taskforce will meet once a month to identify the short and long-term goals of the industry including;

  • The role of hemp in assisting NSW to reach a net zero, circular economy 
  • Barriers to production including supply and value chains
  • Opportunities for expansion of the hemp industry through legislation and industrial regulation

All discussions surrounding legal uses for hemp will fall under the NSW Industrial Hemp Act 2008.

Additionally, the taskforce will not be able to examine the use of hemp as a therapeutic product, as this requires a licence from the Office of Drug Control and the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Hemp plants being grown in a greenhouse.

The establishment of the task force comes after a NSW Hemp Industry Roundtable event, attended by Minister for Agriculture, Tara Moriarty.

“My attendance last year at the Hemp industry Roundtable provided an important opportunity to hear from the hemp industry stakeholders and understand there are important gains for our state if we can foster the sector’s expansion,” she explains.

“Currently, the Hemp Industry Act 2008 facilitates the cultivation and supply of low THC hemp fibre and seed production in NSW under controlled conditions, without compromising the effectiveness of existing drug enforcement strategies of the NSW Police.

“Guided by the taskforce outcomes, the Government can consider what work is required to reduce red tape and provide the regulatory environment to support the industrial hemp industry grow and deliver jobs to regional NSW.”

While in its early stages, the taskforce represents an acknowledgement of the important contribution the hemp industry makes to the economy and environment.

“I applaud the NSW Government for getting behind this industry and look forward to providing exciting new potential for manufacturing, a powerful transition for logging communities, and new opportunities for a climate and soil friendly crop for farmers,” says Mr Buckingham.

To learn more about Australia’s hemp industry, click here.

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