Hemp Industry Assn Pleased With Progress
New Zealand Hemp Industries Association Inc
“We are very pleased with the progress made by the current government towards establishing a hemp industry ” said Mr Mac McIntosh, Chairman NZHIA and we would like to congratulate the Minister, the Labour/Alliance Government and the Green party on finally allowing trials to go ahead.
New Zealand Hemp Industries Association Inc (NZHIA) held their annual general meeting in Wellington on Saturday the 21st of April with Several speakers talking about the economic potential for Industrial Hemp in New Zealand. Speakers included David Musgrave, Chairman of Waihi Bush Organic Farm, Deputy Chair NZHIA, who is excited by the governments’ announcement clearing the way for trials of industrial hemp. “We have been waiting a long time to investigate the harvesting, processing and markets for hemp seed oil and other food products said Mr Musgrave.
Waihi Bush Organic Farm produces very high quality flaxseed oil and has the technology to process hemp seed oil as soon as the raw product is available. WB intends to trial substantial plots of Industrial Hemp this spring.
Hemp seed oil contains high amounts of Omega-3 and other unusual Essential Fatty Acids, which have widespread therapeutic applications. There is an immediate demand for this product in the domestic market.
Mr Musgrave notes that “ Hemp oil’s essential fatty acid content is the perfect compliment to our existing flax seed oil product.
Additionally the high quality of oil seeds produced in Canterbury suggests that there is excellent potential for developing export markets for hemp seed oil and food products.
The exceptionally high EFA content of locally grown flaxseed has attracted interest from many overseas markets. Waihi Bush Organic Farm is currently exporting flaxseed oil to Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. There is every reason to expect the hemp seed trials to show the same high quality results.
Hemp seed can be also be used as a replacement for soy beans in food products. This is particularly welcome at a time when concerns about poor mineral absorption and digestion associated with soy based products have been raised.
Hemp fibre also has many useful applications and Lindsay Newton of New Wool Products, Nelson talked about the potential for use in insulation material. His company has investigated the use of hemp fibre and wool blends as an insulating material and the results are very promising. “The thermal insulation is as good as fibreglass and the acoustic insulation four time better than fibreglass, with none of the potential health problems associated with breathing in fibreglass particles. New Wool Products have already been approached by Canada and Great Britain to supply processing machinery for their well-established hemp industries.
Rod Donald from the Green Party also talked about the Hemp Industry in France, which he studied on his recent visit to France. “France never stopped growing Hemp, so has a well developed industry and an excellent range of cultivars,” said Mr Donald. Mr Donald also said that the political will and resources are now available and with time a successful hemp industry can and will be developed, which will help bolster rural New Zealand.
The NZHIA have established relationships with appropriate industry resources, including the Foundation for Arable Research and New Zealand Plant Breeders Ltd, based at Lincoln University.
This developing umbrella organisation is set to provide the structure and skills to ensure any trials coordinated by the NZHIA will minimise cost and maximise benefits to the wider community.