Plans to develop Australian hemp industry

Plans to develop Australian hemp industry


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James Hood (left) with one of his growers, George Commins, in his crop near Griffith in New South Wales.

James Hood (left) with one of his growers, George Commins, in his crop near Griffith in New South Wales.

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AUSTRALIAN Primary Hemp plans to take its hemp to the world stage after listing on the stock exchange.

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AUSTRALIAN Primary Hemp (APH) plans to take its hemp to the world stage, after announcing two weeks ago that it would list on the Australian Stock Exchange.

APH chief operating officer James Hood said the company's ASX listing would further develop the Australian hemp market.

"We have some of the best farmers and producers in the world and the Asian market is right on our doorstep," Mr Hood said.

"Our aim is to continue leading the Australian hemp industry to fulfil the domestic market requirements and interest abroad.

"The listing on the ASX gives us the power to support our growers to expand and meet this goal."

Mr Hood said the hemp market was finding its pace, as post legalisation hype died down.

"We are seeing the short-term opportunists subside and more long-term offtake partners appear," he said

Mr Hood said the company had seen general opinion on hemp sway from "demon plant to godsend" since the decriminalisation of low THC hemp seed in November 2017.

"It's allowed for the emergence of a seemingly completely new or re-found food source," he said.

"The barriers are slowly coming down, generally faster on the global scene, however Australia is slowly changing the way it views the greater cannabis industry.

"A farmer can acquire a licence to cultivate low THC hemp rather easily through their State's governing body - the process can take up to 12 weeks in some cases."

Mr Hood said APH had received ongoing support, not only from government bodies, but farmers as well.

"Farmers have, as always, been our strength, eager to assist the development of this industry and share their knowledge with their neighbour," he said

Planted in 2016, APH's first trial crop was 44 hectares near Derrinallum, in western Victoria.

"The following year in the 2017/18 season, APH grew about five times that and nearly double that again in 2018/19," Mr Hood said.

APH still grows the majority of its crops in Victoria and through contract growers in Tasmania.

The company is also looking to expand its grower base to other States.

Mr Hood and APH chief executive officer Charlie Mann founded the company in 2016 after setting out to find an alternative protein source.

"We wanted to find a protein source that was complementary to conventional farming infrastructure and sustainable for an ever-increasing population," Mr Hood said.

"We have an almost zero waste product, apart from what is currently left in the paddock and is still somewhat restricted in its use.

"All the hulls from our dehulling line are sent to stock feed and various other products.

"We have seen great results in the gut health and overall condition of milking herds.

"Australian Primary Hemp was one of the first to install a state-of-the-art hemp seed dehulling line in its Geelong facility, offering the hemp seed, shell-free and 100 per cent Australian grown for the first time for commercial scale in Australia."

APH has developed various applications and products from its hemp crops, including its flagship cold pressed hemp seed oil, a protein powder and a high fibre powder.

"The cold pressed hemp seed oil is rich in Omega 3 (a vegan alternative to fish-based oil) with the correct balance of Omega 6 and 9 and the byproduct of the oil pressing is a high protein and fibre meal," Mr Hood said.

"Through advanced milling processes, we have been able to develop a 50pc plus protein powder that has the full amino acid profile.

"The by-product of this process is a high fibre powder, perfect as a dietary supplement."

Mr Hood said the company was looking to expand its range into dairy milk alternative products for the growing group of dietary constricted consumers.

As well as producing its own line of hemp products, APH also offers hemp in bulk, with various brands on Australian shelves already using its product and contract packaging line.

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