Hemp originated in Central Asia. Hemp cultivation for fibre was recorded in China as early as 2800 BCE and was practiced in the Mediterranean countries of Europe early in the Christian era, spreading throughout the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages. It was planted in Chile in the 1500s and a century later in North America.
Hemp was a major cash crop in the Eastern United States until 1937, when it was outlawed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Since then, hemp has been illegal to grow and sell until a few years ago, when President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill, legalizing hemp by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act. Last year U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a program that would allow farmers to grow hemp under federally-approved plans and make hemp producers eligible for a number of agricultural programs. This is big news for the hemp industry.
Did you know the Declaration of Independence was written on paper made from hemp? It’s true! Hemp paper has been around much longer than the paper we know now.
Image Credit: https://whatishemp.com/
Ranking the Top 3 Hemp Growing Countries
#1 – China
For some time, China grew nearly 70% of the world’s hemp. The earliest records of Chinese hemp use date as far back as the year 300. The main use for the plant, as with other countries on this list, was for fiber or survival food. In fact, after World War II, hemp saved many people from starving in areas of Northern China.
This brilliant use for the plant was noted by some Americans right around the time hemp prohibition began. In turn, many fought against hemp’s ban as they wanted to see its versatile uses put to work here in the States. As General Counsel Ralph Loziers of the US National Institute of Oilseed Production proclaimed in front of a congressional committee in 1937, hemp is used by a variety of nations around the world:
“Millions of people every day are using hempseed in [Asia] as food. They have been doing this for many generations, especially in periods of famine.”
Not only did the Chinese government never ban on the plant, they in fact supported industrial growth. Allowing hemp to prosper to an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 acres.
#2 – Canada
Health Canada, the federal agency in charge of distributing hemp licenses, reported Canadian farmers saw an 80% increase in hemp production between 2016 to 2017 – from 75,000 acres to 140,000.
Harvest takes place primarily in three providences — Saskatchewan (56,000 acres), Alberta (45,000 acres), and Manitoba (30,000 acres). Most of this cultivation focuses on extracted seeds for hemp oils, hemp protein powders, and hulled hemp seeds (similar food to sunflower seeds).
However, though the country reports they’ve seen a steady upward trend, signs are pointing to a potential decline in hemp production. The unfortunate truth is, Canada produced way more hemp than their people demanded. Therefore, prices on hemp products decreased exponentially.
The government is now working towards balancing out production with demand and, due to this, they may fall shorter on this list in the years to come.
Surprisingly, despite overall cannabis legalization and progressive attitudes on hemp, legal CBD in Canada is another matter. Technically, CBD is only available by prescription through medical cannabis dispensaries, but many people are accessing it informally on the gray market.
#3 – United States of America
The U.S. only recently made the list this past year with the 2018 hemp acreage report. With 78,176 total acres grown in up to 23 states, the country saw a massive expansion which earned a spot on this list.
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized the crop nationwide, there’s a good chance the U.S. will continue to climb this list. Right now, the vast majority of hemp in the U.S. is grown for CBD. Other forms of hemp, used in textiles, fabric, or hempcrete, are often imported. We can expect that in the coming years, the U.S. will not only grow more hemp, but more forms of the plant too.
However, due to decades of prohibition, the following two countries were able to prosper within the last decades in ways we simply couldn’t.
Source and Credit: https://ministryofhemp.com/blog/hemp-growing-countries/
The global industrial hemp market size was valued at USD 3.61 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.2% from 2021 to 2028. The growing consumer demand for industrial hemp in food and beverage products for its dietary benefits is expected to drive the product demand. See what’s happening around the world in hemp.