Hemp: Production

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 30th June 2022.

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Photo of Derek Thomas Derek Thomas Conservative, St Ives

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) developing hemp production in the UK and (b) simplifying the regulations governing such production.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Hemp is a long-standing crop in UK agriculture with a variety of uses, and Defra has an interest in exploring the benefits to UK farmers.

Defra has commissioned a research project, “Review of opportunities for diversifying UK agriculture through investment in underutilised crops”, which includes industrial hemp. This will examine hemp cultivation from a grower and consumer standards perspective, alongside its environmental benefits. We are also considering the role of industrial hemp in the bioeconomy and the opportunities for our agriculture sector.

An enhanced evidence base will help us to better understand how novel crops can contribute to achieving environmentally sustainable actions and make informed decisions about hemp cultivation. When these studies conclude, Home Office and Defra will work together to take forward any recommendations to help farmers navigate the licencing system and make sure all related processes are fit for purpose.

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