Irish farmers offered contracts to grow hemp

Farmers in a number of spots around the country are being offered contracts to grow hemp, in an effort to make Ireland a “global supplier” of the products that can be derived from the plant.

Yesterday, Thursday, June 20, The Teagasc Food Research Centre in Dublin hosted the ‘Premier Irish Industrial Hemp Conference’, which was addressed by two hemp processors looking to get Irish farmers involved in the industry.

First, Laura Jane Foley, from Loop Head in Co. Clare – who grows hemp on her farm with her husband Daniel – said they were offering contracts to cultivate hemp which they would then process.

She urged the Government to “embrace the industry” by establishing a regulatory framework and encouraging research at a number of levels, including agriculture.

Please acknowledge the need for a full Irish supply chain to address the growing domestic and international consumer demand to establish Ireland as a global supplier.

“We need to allow differing hemp cultivators for production of cannabinoid rich crops and provide year-round hemp cultivation licences through greenhouse operations,” Laura called for.

“We also need to provide cultivators with dual-licences to avoid “waste crop” and allow for full-plant utilisation,” she added.

Athlone

Meanwhile, James De Melloe, from hemp product supplier deDanú, and his wife Leah, are also offering farmers the opportunity to grow the plant for processing.

James has worked in the Canadian hemp industry since 2014. His company recently acquired a laboratory in Monksland, Athlone, which produces cannabidiol (CBD) oil.

“Ireland is a gateway to Europe, has globally competitive tax rates, research incentives and a highly educated workforce,” he said.

This country can compete at an international level and is uniquely positioned to capture a significant portion of the global marketplace.

Yesterday’s conference featured a range of speakers, one of which, Teagasc researcher Dr. John Finnan, addressed the apparent benefits of growing the plant.

He described it as a “vigorous crop that can generally out-compete weeds”.

“We have not used any herbicides, fungicides and pesticides on our research crops. As with all crops there is a nutritional requirement which can mainly be met through the application of organic manures,” Dr. Finnan explained.