The hemp industry: ‘It’s not going to get better’

A new crop of industrial hemp has been grown in Australia’s north, raising hopes for the future of the industrial use of the plant.

It is the first harvest since the federal government in 2016 began the compulsory cultivation of industrial Hemp.

But the Australian Hemp Industries Association says it is not going far enough.

It wants a moratorium on industrial hemp cultivation until the federal Government provides a detailed plan on what to do with the crop.

”We are hopeful that the federal legislation will be more ambitious than what is being proposed by the previous governments,” said Mr Gifford.

”But until that happens, we would like to see some changes in the legislation.”

The Australian Hemp Industry Association said its members, some of whom are small farmers, were worried about the effects of the current crop on their livelihoods.

Mr Gfford said hemp was one of the most economically lucrative crops in the country.

But while the plant had been used as a source of fibre, the industry was struggling with the impact of its industrialisation.

”It’s going to take a lot of work to get it to a level that we can grow it in Australia without compromising our food security, our water supplies and our quality of life,” he said.

”I’ve always thought that Australia would be a place where it’s very successful and you could see it grow in the future.”

”Hemp is very, very valuable in Australia, and if we do not grow it properly, we are going to lose a lot in terms of the value of it and its use as an industry.”

Farmers say they are worried about what the future might hold for their crop.

Mr Fennell said he had grown hemp for years but now needed a new crop to grow and support his family.

He said it was difficult to see a future for hemp if the federal policy was not to pursue it.

”If the federal governments go ahead and go ahead with industrial hemp, then it’s going in a very negative direction, he said, adding that if it was not for the government’s commitment, the federal sector could lose tens of millions of dollars.