What is Hemp?
Hemp farming was formally an economically viable agribusiness until its due to man’s inability to maintain unharmful use of the crop. Hemp farming from ages was a major contributor in the economy, sources of raw materials, foods, and other useful materials until its ban by many countries.
As much as many countries have taken the part of regulating the use of hemp instead of outrightly banning hemp, there are still countries that are shot of this, whether they allow the abuse of hemp and other cannabis keep them banned or find a means to regulate their use is yet to be known but we can’t shy away from the economic importance of hemp and the need to revive hemp farming.
Brief History of hemp farming
Hemp is of the Cannabis sativa plant species. Grown for its industrial use, the history of hemp is not certain however hemp was one of the very first plants to be turned into usable fibre. Planting of hemp is considered illegal in many countries (the USA included until the passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act in 2018) because it contains 0.03% or lowers THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
Hemp ironically has lower concentrations of Tetrahydrocannabinol and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), the presence of cannabidiol reduces its psychoactive effects, therefore not intoxicating as believed it to be.
Hemp farming has been with us for as long as one can think of, in fact as of 1681, after the passing of the law (Act for the encouragement of raising hemp) by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Hemp was flourishing in every settlement in the 1690s, In the 17th century, hemp was one of the most popular crops coming out of Pennsylvania? As a versatile plant, hemp was used for clothing, paper, and even shelter until it’s banned on marijuana in 1937.
USES OF HEMP
As stated earlier, in early time hemp was a very useful crop and played a key role in economic growth. Hemp fibre and oil were major raw materials for both industrial and home use; aiding the production of materials used in homes and industries.
Use of hemp Fiber
Hemp is a great source of fibre, according to hempbasics, One (1) acre of hemp will produce as much fibre as two (2) to three (3) acres of cotton. Hemp fibre is stronger and softer than cotton, lasts twice as long as cotton, and will not mildew.
Through time, hemp fibre was used industrially for the production of materials ranging from rope to fabrics, accessories, homewares, clothing, shoes, and dog collars,
Hemp seed can be eaten raw, produced in liquid form or powdered and eaten, hemp can be used for baking, production of beverages. Hemp oil contains unsaturated fatty acids and is used in the production of food such as granola in the USA. Below is the nutritional value of hemp per 100g of hemp.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||2,451 kJ (586 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||4.0 g|
|Aspartic acid||3.662 g|
|Glutamic acid||6.269 g|
Vitamin A equiv.|
|Vitamin A||11 IU|
Other uses of hemp
Hemp can be combined with lime to produce concrete-like blocks used in construction. Industrially, hemp is used for making materials such as cloths rope, shoes, food for animals, papers, plastic (bioplastic) textiles, and biofuel, hemp oil is also used in making oil-based paints.
Hemp can serve as a purificator for water and soil impunity management. According to hempbasics, Hemp seeds contain a protein that is more nutritious and more economical to produce than soybean protein.
Planting of hemp
Soil requirement for Hemp farming
Hemp grows in almost all farming suitable soils, it however performs better on sandy loam soil with moderate water supply, good aeration, and appreciable air supply.
Fertilizer application in hemp farming is appreciated but not a must, hemp grows well with or without fertilizer but fertilizer application is encouraged for better productivity.
picture from wikipedia
Hemp and Diseases
Pathogens (Disease-causing organisms) such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses are dangerous to hemp, the disease is harmful to the farming of hemp in that it reduces its growth, fiber quality, or cause the death of plants though the yield may not be affected.
How long does it take hemp to mature?
Hemps matures after 120 days of planting, on fertilizer managed planting, hemp can mature faster and develop better.
Hemp is harvested by hand. They are cut at about 2 to 3 cm or 3 to 4cm above the soil (or above ground level), after cutting, they are left on the ground to dry. Hemp can also be cut mechanically using cutter-binders or simpler cutters.
How profitable is Hemp farming?
Hemp farming is very profitable, hemp farming is not only profitable, but it is also a viable source of livelihood, but hemp material is also used in industry for numerous purposes, ranging from fibre, plastics, food, drugs, furniture, and roofing.
Conclusively, a crop as important as hemp shouldn’t be on the outright ban as it is in many countries of the world, it’s believed abuse should rather be regulated and checkmated other than denying a man the numerous benefits of hemp all for its abuse by few. Government at all levels should as a matter of urgency provide a lasting solution to this in other to revive hemp farming as a benefit for man.