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MPI assessment of potential for a new primary industry, based on industrial hemp

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NZHIA MPI congratulates the release of their 60-page report “Facilitating Growth in the New Zealand Cannabis Industry”.

The report was independently prepared by Sapere and recognizes that the industrial hemp industry is “evolving rapidly internationally, driven by recent deregulation and increased interest and demand for its use in a range of products.”

The report identified a number of comparative advantages for cannabis production in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Based on our strong track record in plant and food sciences and innovation, strong agricultural fundamentals, our “clean and green” image and water availability in potential growing areas.

Says Richard Barge, President – NZ Hemp Industries Association Inc.

“The range of products and end uses is a huge opportunity for economic and local development, we just need to work on our strengths and co-create regional industries around existing capabilities, resources and investment desire,” says Barge.

The report highlights that there are lessons to be learned from other jurisdictions, which have been successful in growing industrial hemp industries. This includes funding appropriate cultivar development and trials, often as part of a broader farming or business grant scheme and focusing on industry development rather than treating the industry as a health risk.

The Low THC Industrial Hemp industry welcomes the report as an opportunity to work with government agencies to see the industry evolve. “We are an annual crop well suited to the planting cycle of Aotearoa New Zealand and can provide an important alternative and sustainable source of raw materials for many industries,” says Barge.

The Food Trust’s sustainable fiber standards and goals in the MPI – Fit for a Better World program align well with the emerging industrial hemp industry. “Support from these sources will give the industry confidence to invest in processing and products, creating sustainable demand for the crop,” says Barge.

The report highlights a scenario showing an industry capable of generating $24.9 million and $5.3 million in exports and domestic revenue. NZHIA acknowledges that’s a reasonable start, but according to an AGMARDT-funded study – NZ Hemp 2020 Export Driven Investor Report, the food and fiber sector could be worth $500 million by 2030 and with revised regulations, the nutrient industry could add another $1.5 billion by 2030 .

“We can be part of this global industry, we just need to do the work; create the right varieties for growth and invest in product winners. As an export-focused industry we can’t compete as a commodity, so the challenge is what quality products kiwis can create that can satisfy high-value global niche markets.” Barge says.

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