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On 20 – 21 May 2015, 260 industrial hemp experts from 38 countries met in Wesseling, Germany, for the 12th International Conference of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA).
According to organisers, EIHA, the industrial hemp business is growing every year. It says the strong fibres are used for insulation materials and biocomposites, mainly in automotive interiors. Hemp food products are increasing in market volume and with the extraction of Cannabidiol (CBD) for pharmaceutical applications, farmers can maximise profits.
EIHA explains that, in Europe, 18,300 ha of industrial hemp was cultivated and processed in 2014, much more than in the previous years. In 2015 a further increase to more than 22,000 ha has already been reported: this is a record cultivation area since growing began 30 years ago. It claims that more and more European countries are starting to cultivate Hemp. The major part of this increase is due to organic hemp seed production for the food market and the new demand for CBD. In addition the increasing demand for fibres demonstrates the great versatility of the plant.
A comprehensive carbon footprint study by the German nova-Institute has demonstrated that different natural fibres show a similar and very low carbon footprint compared to glass or mineral fibres. John Hobson, President of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) informed the participants that European hemp fibres will soon be the first natural fibre worldwide with an established sustainability certification. Hemp shivs and seeds will also receive this certificate.
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