Hemp, the hidden treasure

To support the growth and development of practices for cultivating, processing and using industrial hemp in the country, a group of entrepreneurs set up Project H

By Author  |  Published: 21st Apr 2019  12:58 am
Hemp
(L to R) Legal counsel Abhishek Patwari, MP Tathagata Satpathy and Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan at a panel discussion on ‘The Past, Present and Future of Hemp in India’. Photo: Surya Sridhar

Hyderabad: With hemp now being used to manufacture a variety of products ranging from bricks, paper, fabrics and fibre, there is a growing demand for reforms in its cultivation, which is permitted only for licensed holders.

To support the growth and development of practices for cultivating, processing and using industrial hemp in the country, a group of entrepreneurs set up Project H, an association based out of the city. All the products made out of hemp are organic and environment-friendly, according to a panel discussion on ‘The past, present and future of hemp in India’ organised here on Saturday.

Photo: Surya Sridhar

Odisha Dhenkanal MP Tathagata Satpathy said a clear cut policy was the need of the hour. “Decriminalisation is the only way forward and, small and marginal farmers should be permitted to cultivate hemp, considering its many benefits,” he said.

Principal Secretary, Industries, Jayesh Ranjan said the industry should showcase the benefits of hemp right from cultivation, sourcing, processing and manufacturing products. “If these benefits are within the legal frame, it can be promoted,” he said.

Legal counsel Abhishek Patwari said all stakeholders should frame a charter to press for reforms. As part of the programme, companies showcased oil, protein powder, table linens, shirts, cosmetics and other products made of hemp.

Cultivation regulated in most countries

Hemp happens to be a strain of the cannabis sativa plant species and its cultivation is banned or regulated in most countries, including India, given the huge potential for abuse of the substance

New innovations and products

Fibre, yawn, knits, woven fabric, paper Hemp Republic is into producing different products using hemp. Hemp does not need fertilizers for cultivation and in fact, consumes much less water than cotton. “Hemp is eight times more durable than cotton and 90 per cent UV resistant. There are many benefits, but supply is a challenge,” Prashaasa Shahaai, co-founder of Hemp Republic, said.

The construction industry too is coming up with new innovations and a few companies are working on bricks of hemp. Visakhapatnam-based Greenjams Infrastructures’ managing partner Tarun Jami said the brick blocks made of hempcrete, an amalgam of ash, lime, hemp and other products, are durable and ecofriendly. The structures built using hempcrete reduce the need for air-conditioners. In terms of size, they can be customised as per consumers’ demand, he explained. “We are working on different aspects and a pilot project will be taken up shortly,” Tarun said.

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