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Can hemp help Scotland’s agricultural sector reach net zero?

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A new report has found that HEMP has the potential to make Scotland’s agricultural sector carbon neutral.

Industrial hemp is a type of hemp plant that was widely cultivated in Scotland, with a history of cultivation dating back more than 6000 years.

The plant helps offset carbon by acting as a natural carbon sink, absorbing carbon dioxide from the air as it grows.

According to a researcher at the University of Cambridge, a hectare of hemp can absorb 8-15 tons of carbon dioxide. (compared to 2-6 tons absorbed by forests).

The plant can also be used in building materials, as a biofuel, textile fabrics, and even as an alternative to plastic. It is also a naturally rich protein food source, as well as being high in fiber and micronutrients.

The report is a collaboration between the University of Aberdeen’s Rott Institute and Scotland Rural College (SRUC), in partnership with the Scottish Agricultural Organization Association (SAOS) and the Scottish Hemp Association (SHA).

I analyzed the supply chain for hemp seed and fiber in Scotland using data collected from farmers mostly in North East Scotland as well as the borders.

Currently, the supply chain for cannabis grown in Scotland is underdeveloped with no well-established market routes for farmers.

The supply chain is also exposed to many threats that limit its development, including low profitability, lack of technical support, weather restrictions, lack of financial assistance, and strict legislation.

Joint report author Dr Wisdom Dugby of the Rott Institute said: “The information collected was used to make a full assessment of the challenges and opportunities facing the cannabis sector.

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“We know that global production of industrial hemp has been declining since the 1960s due to the unfavorable political climate regarding the cultivation and use of the crop as well as legislation. However, the hemp plant has the potential to be a cost-effective, carbon-neutral, and environmentally friendly crop. for farmers.”

He added: “The UK is among the top five countries to launch hemp products in the world. The majority of the products launched are in the snacks, nutritional drinks, health care, breakfast cereals and bakery category.

“The top five facts associated with hemp-based products are that they are low, no, low allergen, vegan, gluten free, vegan and can be grown organically. It really has the potential to be a cost effective product that delivers health benefits. and environmental.”

Co-author of the report Dr. Cesar Riverdo-Jha of SRUC added: “Our research has provided strong advice on the necessary steps that need to be taken to make progress in the Scottish hemp sector. These include, in the short term, strategies that can be adopted by stakeholders such as the use of hemp as a crop. Carbon credits as well as providing educational/technical support to cannabis growers.

“Medium-term strategies include deregulating cannabis and establishing a strong cannabis processing sector.

“Long-term strategies to rejuvenate the cannabis sector include establishing strong vertical and horizontal links, a seed production center, and a well-coordinated cannabis association.”

Professor Wendy Russell from the Rott Institute, who has worked with farmers to support cannabis production in Scotland and developed the project with partners, added: “We have already demonstrated the health benefits of this important ecological crop and will continue to support our growers and the processing sector on this exciting journey.

chopsticks oilcontaining an optimal proportion of omega fatty acids, has already been produced in Scotland, but this report also demonstrates the broader social and economic potential of cannabis production in Scotland.”

Funded by the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environmental Science and Analytical Services through the Fellowship of the Scottish Environmental, Food and Agricultural Research Institutes (SEFARI), the study also looked at HMRC trade data as well as Mintel’s new global product development data.

Trade data shows that the UK is a net importer of hemp and hemp seed fibres.


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