Sun | Aug 7, 2022

Guyana trying to jump-start hemp industry

Published:Wednesday | March 16, 2022 | 12:05 AM

President Mohamed Irfaan Ali says he is optimistic that Guyana can develop a viable hemp industry by exploiting and capitalising on the value-added aspects of the plant.

“The hemp industry is not only about hemp production, but it is about having the processing and value-added facilities here in Guyana and these are industries that can generate jobs, these are industries that have high value return,” Ali said at a police conference.

He previously announced plans to meet marijuana farmers on the possibility of them entering the hemp industry, saying at a press conference in early March that it was it was a legal way for them to make money.

“It is a net gain for the country, and I want to have that conversation and I think that it is the responsibility of the president to lead in some of these areas in creating the level of trust for the transformation that is required. So, yes this is an industry that can also help in at risk communities,” Ali said.

According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Centre, industrial hemp is from the plant species cannabis sativa and has been used worldwide to produce a variety of industrial and consumer products.

Hemp is a source of fibre and the oilseed is grown in more than 30 nations. It is used for making rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation and biofuel; and is rich in protein, unsaturated fats, fibre, minerals and vitamins. Hemp also protects the brain, boosts heart health, reduces inflammation, improves skin conditions and relieves rheumatoid arthritis.

The Global Industrial Hemp Markets Report 2021-2028, published by GlobeNewswire in November 2021, states that the global market for industrial hemp is expected to reach US$12.01 billion by 2028 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 16.2 per cent over the period.

The Guyana Hemp Industries has already indicated that lands have been cleared, and equipment ready to work at the approval of the Guyana Hemp Policy.

Hemp is often confused with marijuana. The latter is illegal in Guyana, but a Special Select Committee of the National Assembly is working on the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Control Amendment Bill 2021 that will allow for the decriminalisation of small amounts of marijuana.