Plans see country as a 'hemp hub'

Plans see country as a 'hemp hub'

Hemp will be promoted as a new economic crop to help drive the domestic economy.
Hemp will be promoted as a new economic crop to help drive the domestic economy.

The Industry Ministry is planning to make Thailand a hub of hemp businesses to produce new products in the medical sector and support tourism.

Officials are working on a budget plan and will ask the cabinet to allocate money for hemp business development, said Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit.

"The government wants hemp and herbs to be new economic crops to help drive the domestic economy and increase farmers' revenue," he said.

Development of hemp and cannabis products is seen as having business potential due to strong demand in the global market.

Experts have found hemp is rich with cannabidiol (CBD), which can be used to treat a number of ailments.

Pornchai Padmindra, president of the Thai Industrial Hemp Trade Association, said the association has made a hemp development plan for use between 2022 and 2075 as part of a plan to support agricultural products and make Thailand a key manufacturer of hemp-based products in the medical sector.

"We expect hemp products will be a new source of revenue in the future and create new opportunities in the market," he said.

The association expects the hemp market in Thailand to grow by 25% a year, and in the next three years the market value is expected to increase to 3 trillion baht, up from 800 billion baht at present.

Many companies have already announced plans for hemp business development.

Eastern Spectrum Group, a local marijuana and hemp business operator, said it plans to develop 5,000 rai of hemp plantation in Ratchaburi over a three-year period to make high value-added products for medicine, cosmetics, and food and beverage industries.

The company expects to harvest 90,000 tonnes of hemp a year, allowing it to make 3 tonnes of CBD oil annually to serve demand.

Weerachai Nanakorn, honorary president of the Thai Industrial Hemp Trade Association, stressed the group will continue to promote hemp and build a new industry for the plants.

"Hemp can be developed and go to upstream, mid-stream and downstream production processes," he said.

The association and the Industry Ministry are scheduled to organise the Thailand International Hemp Forum and Expo next year. Japan held the first international hemp exhibition titled "International Hemp Environmental Forum".

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