From Bangalow to beyond: hemp foods and Australian economy
THE Australian hemp industry could grow into a hundred million dollar enterprise within the next 12 months, CEO of Hemp Foods Australia, Paul Benhaim believes.
Foods containing low-THC hemp seeds, which contain no or very low levels of the psychoactive component of cannabis, will hit the shelves on November 11.
This is the culmination of a 16-year effort to have hemp approved for human consumption in Australia.
It is currently legal to grow, manufacturer, and export hemp food products in Australia and Mr Benhaim knows the value of hemp in the food market since Hemp Foods Australia thrives on the export of hemp foods to South Korea and Japan markets.
Mr Benhaim hopes to assist more farmers in joining the organic hemp industry and in turn increase acreage of hemp grown across the country.
"Any land from 20 to 1000 hectares we will contract for three years in advance," he said.
"Farmers love it because it leaves the soil better than before."
A crop of hemp enriches the topsoil and removes an immense amount of carbon dioxide from the air.
HFA is talking with major multiples and manufacturers, who are all getting their products ready and packaged and are already starting to pre-sellout to big multiples ahead of November.
Mr Benhaim said HFA is looking like it will sell more product than they can make, so are looking to expand their factories.
He said worldwide, hemp was not considered a niche nor an alternative product as it currently is in Australia.
The root of success for the legalisation of hemp has been education, and a change in public perception , Mr Benhaim said.
Roadside drug testing has now been proven not to be a problem; fields of hemp can be consumed without coming into contact with THC - the cannabinoid in the plant that delivers the "high" effects.
Mr Benhaim assured the economical benefits will be huge and jobs will be a-plenty, noting HFA are looking to expand their factories and are currently hiring.
Hemp foods can be used in healthy restaurants and products since hemp seeds, powder, and oil have an exceptional amount of protein and fatty acids.