The State Government is supporting the development of the hemp industry in Western Australia with a number of studies.
To help encourage industry collaboration, a roundtable discussion on industrial hemp in WA was hosted by the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC in February 2018. The roundtable was attended by 26 hemp growers, processors and researchers from as far afield as the Kimberley and the Great Southern regions.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is part of the Management Committee of the Manjimup Agriculture Expansion Project.
DPIRD, in partnership with the Shire of Manjimup, South West Development Commission and Southern Forests Food Council is exploring the feasibility of growing and processing hemp in the Manjimup Region.
The prefeasibility explores the potential for Manjimup to support industrial hemp processing, considering the entire industrial hemp value chain from cultivation, harvest, processing through to the manufacturing of products for specific markets.
A detailed global and national search was conducted into hemp the plant, its history of production, varieties, agronomy, harvest, processing and markets.
The study provides analysis of the area of hemp crop required to support value adding infrastructure for hemp stalks, the maximum carting distance from surrounding regions, the 'best bet' value added stalk products, and potential target markets for these products.
The report has identified the need to establish a governance model for the industry and a report has been commissioned by the South West Development Commission. Consideration is given to the need for Corporate Services and Strategic Implementation, Research and Development, Marketing, Policy and Trade.
Stage two of the hemp processing prefeasibility has been completed and is now available for download. It involves technical and financial modelling of growing hemp in the Manjimup Shire and establishing a processing mill.
Industrial Hemp is an emerging industry in Australia, and much of the research is retained as Intellectual Property by a range of companies.
The Shire of Manjimup and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development engaged Strategy Matrix to investigate the prefeasibity of establishing an industrial hemp production and processing centre in the Shire.
A Literature Review was conducted as part of this study, exploring papers published internationally and in Australia on hemp cultivation, markets for hemp products and processing requirements.
The reports of stage 1 and stage 2 of the prefeasibility and the literature review are now available to download.
A growing opportunity
The South West Development Commission has also commissioned a report 'A Growing Opportunity' which provides a framework for a hemp industry governing body, timelines and resources.