Hemp - production & trade
For fibre and oil, hemp is cultivated as an annual crop from seed in dense rows. Whereas cotton cultivation requires large applications of herbicides and pesticides, hemp does not. Because of this it produces a much 'greener' and more environmentally-friendly crop. Tapping into this market, hemp is also often organically grown.
|Varieties of hemp developed in India were mostly for use as a narcotic. This man is preparing ganja to smoke.|
Male plants are usually used to produce fibre, while females are required for seeds and oil. For fibre, the stems from low THC varieties are usually harvested about 5 months after sowing by hand, or by specially designed machines. Female plants are left longer to set seed for oil production. When ripe, the plants are cut by machine a few centimetres above the ground.
Fibre extractionFibre is extracted from the stems first by drying and then by retting. This means that the stems are often allowed to decompose so that the fibres are the only parts of the stem remaining. Stems are then chopped up and made into small bundles. Fibres are then separated from the stems and are passed through a series of rollers to remove any pieces of wood and stem.
Products manufactured from help fibres, oils, seeds and stems include fabrics, textiles, paper, plastics, press moulded panels, chip board, fuels, detergents, cosmetics and foods.