German hemp fields have continued to expand this year, growing by 7% to an all-time high of 7,000 hectares (17,000 acres) despite significant barriers to the industry.
Perhaps more important than the total fields is that the number of farms growing the crop has doubled in the past five years, with hemp plots increasing from less than 300 in 2017 to 889 in 2022 (+67%), according to statistics from the federation. Agriculture and Food Bureau.
Fiber and feed demand
While the demand for hemp seed food is steadily growing, and the number of farmers who mainly grow fiber has seen a strong rise, there are still fundamental challenges, starting with the economy, according to Daniel Kross, CEO of Dusseldorf-based Hempro International GmbH.
“Price levels are still not feasible enough for farmers,” said Cruz, a long-term structural indicator that could mean German farmers may eventually give up on cannabis cultivation. Currently, this problem is exacerbated by the country’s faltering economy – which has seen inflation reduce the purchasing power of consumers – and changing weather patterns that lead to longer and hotter summers and untimed rains, Cross noted.
Meanwhile, bureaucratic challenges continue to hamper the cannabis industry in Germany, chief among them the outdated drug laws that have led to confusion. The authorities have Cannabis stores raidedAnd the Legal cross-border selling prohibited of imported flowers and Order some hemp food from the market With police and prosecutors continuing to interpret existing laws in a very restrictive way, at times failing to follow clear EU directives on cannabis.
Cruz is the current president of the European Industrial Hemp Association, whose interests include hemp cultivation, planting operations and grain processing for food products, CBD, health and beauty products, apparel, bags and accessories.
Double cropping is the key
Hemp first appeared in Germany in the 1990s, with fields rapidly reaching 4,000 hectares in 1999. Producers in Germany focused primarily on growing foods based on hemp seeds and fiber during the first two decades of the 21st centuryStreet century. This left legacy cannabis companies in Germany (and elsewhere across the European Union) well exploited, able to weather the CBD boom and recession that hit the market starting in 2019. While CBD’s windfall gains are short-lived, many From pre-existing cannabis businesses, well-established supply chains, proven non-CBD products on the market for reference.
However, in the long run, cannabis growers will find the economy falls short if they don’t plan their cannabis operations for dual output: flowers for CBD extraction and leaves for hemp tea, or flowers and fibres, Cruz warned.
Hemp will likely remain a niche crop in Germany for years to come (German farmers grow wheat on about 3 million acres, for comparison). However, Kruse, a 25-year veteran of the rise and fall of cannabis in Europe, remains optimistic about Germany’s potential with this crop.
“Despite all the obstacles, the outlook for Germany, especially in the context of cannabis potential Amid growing concern about the environment and the European Union’s attempts to tackle climate change, it is certainly positive.”