New Zealand’s Government is kicking in more cash to support development of the country’s hemp industry.
The Ministry for Primary Industries announced last week its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund is contributing $1.34 million to New Zealand Natural Fibres’ (NZNF) hemp research and development project, which will run over 5 years.
Back in 2018, NZ Yarn Ltd teamed up with Hemp New Zealand Ltd with the goal of making products from New Zealand-grown hemp and wool, as well as blends of the fibres. Three years have passed and it’s not clear how much progress has been made, but NZNF says it will use cash from the fund to ramp up its hemp growing, processing and marketing capabilities.
“We are very pleased to have received government backing to continue our work with hemp fibre, which has huge potential to be part of the solution to some of the most crucial environmental challenges facing our planet today,” said NZNF CEO Colin McKenzie.
The SFF Futures fund is part of the Government’s efforts to create opportunities to enhance the country’s primary sector and the role it plays in New Zealand moving towards a more sustainable economy.
According to Steve Penno, MPI’s director of investment programmes:
“This project aims to do just that – by showcasing Kiwi innovation at its best. It promises to add considerable value to our hemp fibre industry, and potentially to our local and national economies.”
This isn’t the first financial support the MPI’s SFF Futures fund has tipped into New Zealand’s cannabis industry. In October this year, it provided nearly NZD $760,000 towards a program that seeks to establish evidence-based medical cannabis cultivation practices.
It has also contributed $202,000 to develop sustainable technology and processes to produce hemp fibre without the use of chemicals. Additionally, the fund has supported a project aiming to establish a pilot hemp seed processing plant that will also look into the potential for converting hemp waste into products.