Industrial hemp farming now legal in region
NEW Territory laws have rolled out allowing the possession, cultivation, supply, processing and research of industrial hemp in the NT.
Primary Industry and Resources Minister Paul Kirby said the start of the Hemp Industry Act on Wednesday opens the door to the Territory's farm sector to grow the "versatile and innovative new crop".
"It offers both good economic return and an environmentally sustainable product," Mr Kirby said.
NT Farmers Association CEO Paul Burke said hemp would prove an excellent crop in Northern Australia and would diversify opportunities for broadacre cropping.
"Northern Territory producers have watched the development of the hemp regulation with considerable interest," he said.
"NT Farmers will now work with interested producers to make this new opportunity a reality."
Mr Kirby said the start of the Hemp Industry Act represented a huge opportunity for the Territory's agriculture sector.
"Our farmers and the agriculture industry are a significant employer and source of economic activity in regional and remote areas of the NT, so opening the door for our farmers to grow such an emerging and exciting crop as industrial hemp is a great milestone," he said.
The NT Government believes establishing a hemp sector in the Territory has the potential to facilitate investment and job creation opportunities in regional areas and capitalises on emerging market opportunities both domestically and internationally.
Industrial hemp is cultivated for seed and fibre production, and has many uses, including in the manufacture of textiles, rope and paper.
It is a highly nutritious food source, and can be a value-add in products such as soap, lotion and shampoo.
The new legislation permits the possession, cultivation, supply, processing and research of industrial hemp, and covers the various prohibitions, necessary enforcement provisions, offences and miscellaneous arrangements to support this.
The Government says industry will see two main opportunities emerge with the legislation in place - of both a fibre and grain industry (tetrahydrocannabinol or 'THC' levels under 1 per cent), and a viable seed industry (THC levels under 0.5 per cent).
The Government says the Territory has a competitive advantage in the emerging industrial hemp market in Australia, with the potential to produce viable seed via a dry season crop, and supplying it to the rest of Australia for summer planting.
Hemp grain currently garners a farmgate price of around $3000 per tonne.
Applications for commercial and research licences can now be submitted with all relevant information and resources available via the government website at www.nt.gov.au/hemp.
Originally published as Industrial hemp farming now legal in the NT