Hemp

Can Hemp solve Scotland’s question?

Hemp

Is Hemp the answer to Scotland’s agricultural challenges?

According to a report, Hemp has been found to have the potential to revolutionize the Scottish agricultural sector. This revolution can happen in terms of sustainability, economic benefits and carbon neutrality. 

Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate of Scotland states that Agriculture contributes around a quarter of Scotland’s total greenhouse gas emissions, making it a significant contributor to climate change.

Conversely, it is also one of the sectors worst affected by climate change. Farming and crofting will need to adapt to cope with the consequences of flooding, drought, unseasonable weather, and increased pest and disease risks.

Scotland has a time-tested association with Hemp with its cultivation that dates back to more than 6000 years. Over the years the battles with legalization and international regulations pulled back this sector. So the question arises What hemp is used for and suddenly do we need to revive it?

At present times it is being used for its environmental benefits including offsetting carbon dioxide, as a food, and as an eco-friendly fertiliser and pesticide. It is currently being used in building materials, as a biofuel, textile fabric and even as an alternative to plastic. Hemp seeds and oils are considered a superfood as they are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, micronutrients and fatty acids. Hemp also makes one of the most durable and sustainable fibre. (You can further on these uses of hemp by clicking here)

Hemp

The report is a collaboration involving the University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), partnering with the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) and the Scottish Hemp Association (SHA). It analysed the supply chain for hempseed and fibre in Scotland. The supply chain of Hemp has been found to be a little underdeveloped with undeveloped market routes. Other challenges include low profitability, lack of technical support, weather limitations, lack of financial assistance, and stringent legislation.

Post 1960s and the change in political stands against hemp production and usage, created a decline in the world production of industrial hemp. However the recent challenges of climate change, threats of untreated waste and the plastic havoc all point towards the urgency of a sustainable solution. The hemp plant has the potential to be a cost-effective, carbon neutral, and environmentally friendly crop for farmers.

Hemp

A research to analyze Industrial Hemp from a trade perspective was funded by the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services through a Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI)-Gateway fellowship. The study also examined HMRC trade data as well as Mintel’s Global New Product Development Data. The trade data indicated for UK to be a net importer of hempseed and hemp fibre.

“The UK is among the top five countries launching hemp-based products in the world. The majority of the products launched are in the category of snacks, nutritional drinks and beverages, health care, breakfast cereals, and baked goods.“The top five facts associated with hemp-based products are that it has low, no, or reduced allergens, is vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian and can be grown organically. It truly has the potential to be a cost-effective product bringing both health and environmental benefits.”

This rising demand for Industrial Hemp in the UK is being redirected to Scottish grounds to fuel a Hemp charged agricultural revolution.

Joint report author Dr Cesar Revoredo-Giha of SRUC added: “Our research has provided strong advice on necessary steps to take to progress the Scottish hemp sector. These include, in the short-term, strategies that can be adopted by stakeholders such as using hemp as carbon credits crop as well as the provision of educational/technical support to hemp growers.

“Medium-term strategies involve relaxing the regulation of hemp and establishing a strong hemp processing sector.

“Long-term strategies to revamp the hemp sector include establishing strong vertical and horizontal linkages, a seed production centre and a well-co-ordinated hemp association.”

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