New Zealand-based hemp food company Hemp Connect has won government funding to establish a hemp-seed processing plant in Levin, 95km north of Wellington.

The Ministry of Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund is contributing more than NZ$245,000 to the two-year pilot project in a bid to help domestically produced hemp products compete with imports.

Hemp Connect managing director Mathew Johnson said: “One of the keys to reducing costs has been researching how to use the entire seed, as well as the associated waste streams.

The Hemp Connect team

“Our goal with this project is to make hemp food production in New Zealand a viable and internationally competitive option.

“The cost of importing hemp food has been significantly cheaper than producing it domestically, and by increasing the scale of production, new products such as husk by-products, sprouts and animal feed will become more economically viable.”

MPI investments director Steve Penno said the project was a good fit for the Government’s primary sector plan.

He added: “Hemp doesn’t need chemicals and is drought tolerant, so it has environmental benefits. One of the most exciting aspects of this project will be enabling Hemp Connect to develop products that have never been produced domestically or internationally.” 

Hannah Adler

Hannah is a communications professional and early-career researcher in the disciplines of health communication and health sociology. She is a PhD student at Griffith University currently writing a...