Farmers need to tap into new hemp technologies and markets

NSW Farmers welcomes the state government’s efforts to support the growing hemp industry, which presents opportunities to improve supply chains and reduce red tape.

Agriculture Minister Tara Moriarty announced the establishment of a Hemp Industry Taskforce to support the growth of the NSW industrial hemp industry.

According to the government, the taskforce would include 12 representatives from growers and industry associations and consider options to support growers, with the global hemp market expected to quadruple by to $18.6b by 2027.

NSW Farmers Agricultural Science Committee Chair Alan Brown said developing new and emerging markets such as industrial hemp would provide more opportunity for farmers to diversify, driving economic activity in turn.

“Industrial hemp is an emerging industry in Australia, and we’re trailing Canada, China and the European Union in terms of scale and value of production,” Mr Brown said.

“We see the industrial hemp industry experiencing strong growth, with innovative technologies improving production and a range of value-added products being developed.

“What we need is a way for our farmers to tap into these new technologies and new markets, which will drive economic activity both at a local and state level.”

Mr Brown said pursuing value-adding opportunities in agriculture – creating finished products rather than raw ingredients – had the potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and add billions of dollars to the state’s coffers.

“By investing in agriculture the state government can help farmers literally grow a stronger future for NSW,” Mr Brown said.

“We know investing in value-adding could contribute an additional $50 billion to the economy by 2030, creating over 223,000 jobs in NSW, according to work from the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre (FIAL).

“I hope we can take the hemp industry as an example of the way we could apply this approach right across the agricultural sector and unlock all of the opportunities that come with it.”

-NSW Farmers