AgriFutures Australia has launched a A$2.5 million research program to boost industrial hemp production and help local firms capitalise on a global market tipped to be worth $18.6bn by 2027.
The money will be invested over five years to deliver research into four key areas – hemp seeds and varieties, primary production, hemp products and sustainability.
The Australian Industrial Hemp Program of Research will be led by Southern Cross University and involve a range of other research organisations and industry partners.
Lead researcher Professor Tobias Kretzschmar said: “The focus areas include securing a steady supply of well-characterised varieties, developing value-add processing methods, investigating the safe and beneficial use of hemp products in livestock and animal feed and generating information and tools for growers to understand the sustainability credentials of industrial hemp.”
AgriFutures Australia emerging industries senior manager Dr Olivia Reynolds said hemp had enormous potential to boost the country’s agricultural productivity.
She added: “The Australian industrial hemp industry is in its infancy but is rapidly growing, and the timing is perfect to plan and implement a pathway for growth.”