Industrial hemp: practical tips from professionals

A seminar “Industrial hemp: 5 steps to a successful business” was held on August 30 at the Hlukhiv Institute of Bast Crops (IBC NAAS).

Hemp is a multipurpose crop and is cultivated to meet the needs of various industries. Fiber is used to produce fabrics, insulation materials and bio-composites in the automotive industry. Seeds are processed into oil or consumed as food. Hemp seed is promoted as a functional food due to its high protein content, a unique composition of fatty acids and dietary fiber, and the content of vitamins and minerals. Much of the hemp products are used in pharmaceuticals.

The largest markets are the USA and the EU. Consumption of hemp seed in the EU annually increases by 11% from 2011, and in 2015 it was 77 thousand tons. Sowing area of hemp for seed in the EU also grows significantly – from 25 thousand hectares in 2015 to 33 thousand hectares in 2016.

Against this background, crop areas in Ukraine are more than modest and still tend to decrease.

2016 2017 2018
Sowing area, thousand ha 2,8 2,6 1,2
Yield, quintal per ha 5,8 4,3
Production, thousand tons 1,6 1
Exports, tonnes 337 414


In 2017 only 2 thousand tons of straw were harvested from 1.1 thousand hectares in Ukraine. Regarding the processing of straw into fiber and shivs, the volumes are so scarce, which do not even fall into the statistics. Using of straw as pellet fuels is commercially attractive at the initial stage.

Hemp seed should conform to the EU requirements for MRLs (Maximum Residue Levels) of pesticides to obtain the possibility of exporting to the union and THC content should not be more than 0,2%. Seeds should be homogeneous and purified from foreign impurities. Meeting these standards requires significant expenditures for analysis and cleaning and makes exporting of small batches unprofitable. “Therefore, small producers need to join with processor-exporter,” said Mykola Shkurko, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the FHDAU.

Such is the EPCF “SIAIVO” LLC in Nizhyn, which performs high-quality seed processing on a modern automated line, forms export batches and makes effective sales.

Participants of the seminar acquainted with work of experimental production line of processing hemp straw into fiber. An industrial model of such line with productivity 1 ton of fiber per shift will be mounted. This is a joint development of the IBC and Hemptekhno LLC. So small producers working together will have the opportunity to receive fibers and seed for sale.

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