From Farmer to Pharma – hemp and medicinal cannabis offer a growing opportunity; event 12th May 2021
Over £300m was spent by UK consumers on CBD – Cannabidiol – in 2019. This opportunity, expected to grow to £1bn in 2024, is just one of the many uses for industrial hemp, Cannabis sativa. The potential of this versatile crop is to be discussed at the Agri-TechE conference ‘From Farmer to Pharma – and Beyond‘ on 12th May in partnership with Hanway Associates.
A major report to be launched this week will outline the opportunity for UK CBD production. The stalks, seeds, flowers and leaves of hemp can all be used in applications including biomaterials, cosmetics, feed, food and construction materials.
UK farmers are beginning to including hemp in their rotation as a carbon neutral alternative to Oil Seed Rape, but trialling this ‘wonder crop’ is not easy.
The ‘From Farmer to Pharma’ event is a chance to hear from farmers, processors, contractors and legal experts about the opportunities for broadacre and controlled environment production of hemp and medicinal cannabis, the regulatory developments and potential routes to market.
And, most importantly, how the business model is going to work for producers.
Farmers, processors, buyers and legal experts provide insights
New report outlines the opportunity for UK CBD production
CBD oil is legally available as a supplement and medicinal cannabis is available on prescription for a range of conditions – so what are the opportunities for UK production? Hear the conclusions of a major report discussed at the conference
Co-author Robert Jappie, a Partner at Ince, says: “I’d like to see this UK restriction on the extraction of CBD from industrial hemp removed. Why must we import CBD from overseas when we are perfectly capable of doing the extraction here?”
With the legalisation of medicinal cannabis and CBD supplements rolling out across Europe, Robert has become the leading legal authority on the developing regulatory environment both here in the UK and in mainland Europe.
Exploiting the potential of hemp - carbon neutral and versatile
Industrial hemp is carbon negative and tolerates a range of growing conditions. Lorenza Romanese, Managing Director of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) and keynote speaker at the ‘From Farmer to Pharma’ conference, explains how hemp is an important and wholly under-utilised raw material with tremendous potential.
She discusses the current status of the crop, the distinction between hemp and medical cannabis, and new developments such as its use as a raw material in the production of the bioplastic PLA.
'Great future' for hemp says Norfolk grower
“I see hemp as a crop with a great future – with multiple uses in a market that needs developing,” explains John Barrett, Director of Sentry Limited.
John recently begun cultivating Cannabis sativa for hemp fibres and to widen the rotation. Having begun with a 20-hectare plot, he plans to plant a further 200 hectares next year.
Growing interest in medicinal cannabis
“Science is just starting to get a grip on the endocannabinoid system and its role in the body, but you can visually see that this stops an MS sufferer having shakes, stops a child having seizures…” says Xan Morgan, CEO of Equinox, about multiple uses of medicinal cannabis. Although the UK can grow Cannabis sativa very well, this UK company has to source its medicinal and pharmaceutical cannabis from Austria.
Hempcrete as a high-value, green alternative to oilseed rape?
Hemp is a hardy plant that is able to survive the poorest soil and almost any climate, and it also requires little in the way of chemical inputs. The woody core, or shiv, can be used for hempcrete, an insulation material that stores heat in its fabric and releases it slowly, which keeps a house warmer on cold days and cooler on hot days.
Alex Sparrow, founder of UK Hempcrete, explains that its green credentials go further: “The very tall stems have a very dense cellulose structure, enabling it to absorb plenty of CO2 during growth. As a carbon negative material hempcrete is helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction industry.” He will discuss this opportunity further at the conference.
Some of the other speakers and chairs include
Don't miss an opportunity to network with the St Louis AgCluster
Agri-TechE International Missions: Missouri & UK Agritech Connect Programme
29th April 2021 – 15.00-17.00 GMT – online
If you’re an agri-tech and agribusiness ecosystem leader company looking to do business in the USA, or a researcher looking for trans-Atlantic collaborations, join us for a virtual drink and discussions – and to hear from businesses who joined the mission to St Louis in 2020.
Missouri is the heartland for 50% of US crop and livestock production and the St. Louis agcluster offers vibrant grower communities, innovation centres, international ag and food corporations and centres of plant science research offering a wealth of opportunities for collaborative projects.
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