Where is Hemp Grown Around the World?
Hemp is one of the oldest plants cultivated by humans. It has been used for centuries all around the world for different purposes. Researchers even say that hemp ropes were used for pottery since 8,000 BCE in present-day China, while it was also used for clothing in Mesopotamia during the same period. It is believed that hemp made its way from Asian regions to the Middle East in 2,000 BCE through 800 BCE, and later reached the Mediterranean, Northern Africa, and across Europe by 200 BCE.
Ancient Greeks at that time wrote about the potential medicinal benefits and healing properties of cannabis as well as the alternative uses of the hemp plant. Later during the Middle Ages, hemp became an extremely important crop around the world. It started to influence the economic and social status of the countries where hemp was cultivated, as the crop was used to meet the fiber and food supply in different parts of the world. Sailing ships became more and more dependent on hemp-derived ropes and canvas because it was more durable and resistant to salt when compared to those made from cotton. Soon, the popularity of hemp reached all corners of the earth.
By the 1st to 5th centuries AD, hemp became a globally recognized crop, and it was grown almost everywhere for medicinal uses, clothing, paper, rope, or many other purposes. Today, more than 30 countries across the world cultivate hemp for various uses.
China has been the largest producer of hemp for quite some time. Unlike many other countries, China never banned the cultivation of hemp totally, even though it strictly prohibited the use of psychoactive products made from Cannabis Sativa. In fact, the Chinese government even supported the industrial cultivation of hemp, leading to its growth to more than 250,000 acres today. China is also the major supplier of raw and processed hemp fiber for the US.
Canada started distributing hemp licenses through its federal agency, Health Canada, in 1994, and commercially legalized hemp production in 1998. Within a decade, the industry grew to more than 35,000 acres of hemp, which has grown to over 140,000 acres today. Many Canadian farmers are even cultivating organically certified hemp crops. Most of the hemp cultivation in Canada is focused on producing hemp oils, hulled hempseeds, and hemp protein powders. However, it also includes many hemp alternatives like green energy storage, hempcrete, and fiberglass.
The United States had banned the growing of hemp in 1937 because it belonged to the Cannabis family. Hemp was even included in the Schedule 1 drug category once. However, the 2018 Farm Bill passed by the Senate and the House legalized hemp cultivation once again in the US. Today, over 500,000 acres of hemp plants are cultivated across 34 states in the country. The majority of the hemp producers in the country are focused on producing CBD oil. Nirvana Dr. Soul Raw Hemp Drops is a great CBD oil for versatile use.
France is one of the largest producers of hemp in Europe and it grew almost double the amount of hemp for the past couple of decades when compared to all other European countries. Some researchers even point that hemp has been used industrially in France since the Neolithic era for naval applications, clothing, animal bedding, and other purposes. The hemp cultivation in France has grown to over 45,000 acres at present.
The United Kingdom lifted its hemp production ban in the year 1993 and issued government-backed grants to develop new markets for natural fibers. Within a year, more than 4,000 acres of hemp crop was grown in the UK. Since then, hemp has been cultivated across the country for producing paper, textiles, animal bedding, and many more products. Yet again, the restricted status of hemp in the UK means that it can only be cultivated to harvest the seeds and stalks.
Poland has over 10,000 acres of hemp crops at present, and it is being used for various purposes like fabric and cordage production. Polish farmers have a long tradition of cultivating hemp and realize the benefits of using hemp to purify agricultural soil that is contaminated by heavy metals. Studies have also found that hemp absorbs more metals from the soil when compared to any other plant. Hemp is also used to manufacture particleboard in Poland.
Chile deems the cultivation of hemp on an industrial level illegal and it is prohibited to consume Cannabis products in public as well. However, there are no strict laws on private cultivation or usage of hemp. This has always allowed Chileans to grow hemp for various purposes. Records even show that hemp cultivation in Chile goes back to 1545 when the crop was grown for hempseed oil production. It is estimated that Chile leads South America in hemp cultivation today.
Hungary is one of the biggest exporters of hemp fabric and hemp cordage to the US, as it is known to produce several high-quality fiber strains. Hemp has been an integral part of Hungary’s history for many centuries, and hemp weaving was even considered a social activity until the 20th century. Today, Hungary is a leading hemp breeder and researcher, although the hemp cultivation in the country is also focused on producing paper and hempseed products. Dr. Botanicals Hemp Seed Gift Set makes a great gift for a loved one in your life who’s interested in hemp.
Romania has always been a prominent hemp producer in Europe, and it has more than 40,000 acres of hemp crop at present. Although the strict regulations on its cultivation and deteriorating processing facilities lowered the enthusiasm of hemp producers in the past couple of years, the growing international demand for hemp products today is reviving the hemp industry in the country. Romania is also considering hemp production for medical purposes in the future.
Russia became the largest hemp producer in the world during the 18th century. Hemp was grown across the country for rope, nets, sails, candles, and other industrial products, and exported to the UK and Europe. Although the hemp industry suffered a decline after the fall of the Soviet Union, the government recently signed a decree that allows hemp cultivation for industrial purposes in Russia. The decree authorizes growing hemp for medicinal, therapeutic, and veterinary purposes. Mary’s Nutritional The Remedy Hemp Oil Extract is a great CBD oil with therapeutic potential.
Uruguay is the first country in the world to have fully legalized the research and development, cultivation, sale, distribution, and consumption of hemp and non-synthetic cannabinoids. Hemp growth is regulated by the Uruguayan government, but licensed producers can cultivate the crop as needed to meet demand. As the global market for hemp is growing steadily, Uruguayan producers are looking forward to cash-in by supplying hemp for medicinal and food products.
India banned Cannabis production and use in the mid-1980s, but it allowed the cultivation of “non-intoxicating” hemp for industrial purposes. Although the production of hemp is permitted on the federal level, individual states control the license distribution. Currently, only one state in India has fully legalized hemp production, although the Ministry of Textiles in the country considers this as the initial step for Indian farmers to capitalize on the global hemp market.
Australia maintains strict regulations on hemp cultivation at the federal level. However, individual states can issue licenses to farmers for growing hemp for fiber and construction material production. Australian hemp producers are currently producing low-value market materials such as animal bedding, garden mulch, erosion control mediums, oil-spill containment products, etc. Australia also allows hemp crops cultivation for research, but not for mainstream products like CBD oil, clothing, food, paper, or bio-plastics.
South Africa is the first country in the African continent to have legalized hemp production and label it as an agricultural crop. The Department of Health regulates the issuing of research permits, but it has still to issue a commercial license for hemp cultivation. Therefore, there are no commercial hemp farms in South Africa despite having a demand for hemp fiber. Currently, the country is identifying different industries that could benefit from hemp, such as agrifiber, paper, animal bedding, etc.
Malawi does not distinguish between industrial hemp and Indian hemp. However, the Dangerous Drugs Act of Malawi requires hemp cultivators to acquire a license for any product that is made from Cannabis. However, the parliament recently passed a bill that allows the cultivation of Cannabis Sativa for different industrial and medicinal purposes. The government believes that this move will boost the economy of the country, which is largely dependent on tobacco at present.
Apart from the above-listed ones, countries like Austria, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Egypt, Thailand, Portugal, Italy, and Nicaragua also produce hemp for various purposes. Some of these countries allow cultivating hemp crops for research purposes alone, while others have a hemp industry for the production, consumption, and export of hempseed oil, textiles, rope, paper, and other hemp products.