The challenges of agriculture production have presented farmers with a new option for a hearty and drought resistant crop that can withstand the harsh Australian climate.
Hemp Foods Australia, with assistance from Victorian farmers, are less than one month away from harvesting their first commercial hemp crop.
Paul Benhaim CEO of Elixinol Global Limited (ASX:EXL), who own Hemp Foods Australia said they had chosen the location in Victoria because it was an ideal geographic location for hemp growing.
“The location’s latitude is ideal for varieties that are proven to provide good quality seed and yield,” Mr Benhaim said.
“There’s hundreds of chemical compounds within the plant.”
One of the most important factors HFA made in its hemp seed production process is to meet legal requirements that ensure the plant’s THC content is less than 0.3 per cent.
HFA’s sister company Elixinol is in the process of applying for the required licences to grow high THC medicinal cannabis for the Australian market.
Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the compound within cannabis plants which has psychoactive effects when ingested.
“0.3 per cent is the current THC content of the plant, where as the psychoactive variety is closer to 30-40 per cent,” Mr Benhaim said.
“You really need above 10 per cent THC to feel its effects, you could smoke a whole field of our crop and you would just get a headache,” Mr Benhaim laughed.
“Cotton uses a significant amount of water, where in comparison hemp uses a very minimal amount,” Mr Benhaim said.
“From a chemical and water usage perspective, which is important in our part of the world, being on the driest continent on Earth.”
Part-owner of the crop’s farmland, Matt Davis said he became involved in growing hemp comercially with HFA through a mutual relationship with one of his business partners.
“There’s around 200 hectares planted all up on the farm, “ Mr Davis said.
What is hemp used for ?
The hemp plant can be processed into an array of commercial items including paper, clothing, textiles and food.
HFA CEO Paul Benhaim said hemp is a nutritious food source that can be consumed on a daily basis.
“The HFA hemp powder contains nearly 50 per cent protein and there is 30 per cent protein within the seeds which is a perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids,” Mr Benhaim said.
HFA’s products include pure hemp seeds, protein powder, oil, flour and skincare products.
“It’s a relatively new market in Australia, HFA has been manufacturing products since 2012,” Mr Benhaim said.
“It was only in 2017, after 18 years of lobbying with the rest of the industry, that hemp was allowed as a food for human consumption.”
You really need above 10 per cent THC to feel its effects, you could smoke a whole field of our crop and you would just get a headache.Paul Benhaim