Mark Reinders from the Dutch company HempFlax B.V. was elected as new president of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA).
The cultivation areas of industrial hemp in Europe, investment in new processing lines and the demand for hemp products is continuously growing in Europe and worldwide. From the year 2011 to 2015 the cultivation area in the European Union more than tripled to 25,000 ha.
Hemp fibre is used for light-weight paper, insulation materials and biocomposites for the automotive industry. Hemp shivs, the woody core of the hemp plant, is a high-quality animal bedding material. Shivs are also used together with lime for walls and bricks in construction.
The strongest growth is in hemp food. The production of hemp seeds increased from 2010 to 2013 by 92% and the production of flowers and leaves by an amazing 3,000%. The flowers for CBD production gave hemp farmers a considerable extra profit. CBD is used in high concentrations as a pharmaceutical and in low concentrations as a food supplement. The growth here will mainly depend on regulations and legislation on CBD in the following years.
There was a very inspiring and optimistic atmosphere at the conference and the main question was how we can expand the cultivation and processing to cover the growing demand. Will it be possible to expand the cultivation areas from 25,000 ha last year to 100,000 ha by 2025 or 2030? How many jobs can the hemp industry create? How many GHG emissions could be avoided by substituting less environmentally friendly products? How fast will hemp food become a high volume mainstream product? How can CBD be regulated in a way that will help patients and nutrition-conscious people?
The day before the conference, the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) organised full day meetings including the General Meeting of the association. After eleven years as president, John Hobson, GW Research, resigned as president and board member. All members thanked him for his excellent work. Mark Reinders from the Dutch company HempFlax B.V., a pioneer company in industrial hemp with cultivation and processing in The Netherlands and Romania, was elected as president with 86% of the votes. Sylvestre Bertucelli from InterChanvre, the French Industrial Hemp Association, became deputy president with 93% of the votes. Finally, Boris Banas from Propaganda Production s.r.o. (Slovakia) was elected with 90% of the votes as new board member.
In these uncertain economic days, it was really refreshing to see the growth perspectives for the European Hemp industry.
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