Global common hemp market

The range of use of common hemp processing products in the global economy is steadily expanding. Industrial technologies for the production of products for use in innovative industries are being developed. Hemp is becoming a strategic crop and its cultivation and processing a priority in the economic policies of many developed countries and private businesses. Over 300 kinds of hemp products are produced globally. It is a popular raw material for medical, textile, light, food, cosmetic, paper, construction, aviation, fuel and other industries. Hemp fibre clothing is the latest fashion trend in Europe, US and Canada. For the record, the first Levi’s jeans were made of hemp fibre. Global hemp cultivation has been increasing since the mid-1990s. In a short time, scientific and technological developments have made it possible to create hemp cultivation, harvesting and processing machines that allowed to cut production costs and increase productivity three- or fourfold. As of now (according to 2015 figures), the total worldwide hemp acreage is about 140–150 thousand ha. Different sources provide markedly different information on the acreage in specific countries. Nevertheless, one can clearly identify the leaders.

China, Canada, France and Netherlands are leaders in the production and processing of hemp products.

Global hemp seed and hemp cloth production, thousand tonnes.

As of 2014, 78.3 thousand tonnes of hemp cloth and apparently about 57 thousand tonnes of hemp seeds were produced worldwide (exact figures available for 2013 only. The leader in seed production is France, which accounted for 73 % of the global market (see Figure 1), and the leaders in hemp cloth production are China (28 %), North Korea (25 %) and the Netherlands (18 %) (see Figure 2).

The largest share in the production of portage and its processed products by the end of 2020 was occupied by China (55%). Chinese companies have more than half of the patents and know-how related to hemp farming in the world.

Structure of global hemp acreage, 2015, thousand ha
More than thirty countries use hemp in their industries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, South Africa, Turkey, Serbia, Montenegro, Ukraine.
Structure of global hemp seed production, 2014, tonnes
As of 2014, 78.3 thousand tonnes of hemp cloth and apparently about 57 thousand tonnes of hemp seeds were produced worldwide (exact figures available for 2013 only; see Figure 2). The leader in seed production is France, which accounted for 73 % of the global market (see Figure 3), and the remaining 22 % of the market is held by China.
Structure of global hemp cloth production, 2013, tonnes
The leaders in hemp cloth production are China (28 %), North Korea (25 %) and the Netherlands (18 %).

China is the undisputed world market leader and specialises in the development of all areas related to the use of common hemp.

China is the undisputed world market leader and specialises in the development of all areas related to the use of common hemp. Industrial hemp production has always been an integral part of the Chinese economy. Most raw hemp is grown in Shandong and Yunnan provinces. Despite previous government policies to eradicate recreational cannabis, China has been and remains one of the largest producers of common hemp in the world for many years. China produced 24,000 tons of hemp in 2004, accounting for 79 % of the world market. Chinese-made hemp fabrics are considered to be the best in the world. In 2009, the world’s most advanced hemp fibre processing plant was built in an autonomous prefecture in southern Yunnan province. The plant, owned by China Hemp Industrial Holding Investment, has an annual capacity of about 2,000 tons of hemp fabric per year.

China is currently the largest supplier of hemp fibre to the US market. Chinese companies now own more than 310,000 worldwide patents registered with the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Canada is the second country in the world in terms of the cultivation of seed cannabis (by the end of 2015 - more than 25%)

Canada is the second country in the world in terms of the cultivation of seed cannabis (by the end of 2015 - more than 25%).

The balance of power on the world stage has changed markedly in the last two decades (see Chart 5). For example, in 1998, in the countries of the European Union, the area of cannabis crops reached more than 40 thousand hectares. At the same time, about 2.4 thousand hectares of this plant were grown in Canada. In 2010, the acreage in Canada and the EU countries was almost equal, and in subsequent years, the acreage in Canada significantly exceeded that in Europe. In 2013, the area of crops was about 27,000 hectares, in 2015 - about 36,400 hectares.

According to the "Technical Hemp Development Strategy" of the Canadian Cannabis Trade Association, the area of industrial hemp crops is planned to increase to 1 million acres (400,000 hectares) by 2025, which could bring from 2.5 to 4 billion. Canadian dollars profit .

France sows 54% of EU crops

The leading country in Europe in the cultivation of cannabis with an area of 14,500 hectares of agricultural land. From 70 to 80% of the hemp fiber produced in France is used for the production of cellulose. About 15% is used in the automotive industry and 5-6% is used for the manufacture of furniture, primarily mattresses. About 95% of hemp production waste is used as litter for animals and about 5% in the construction industry.

Uniform rules for the cultivation of industrial hemp in the country are not defined

In this regard, there are restrictions on the cultivation of cannabis at the federal level. The country is the world's largest importer of hemp raw materials, and the imported raw materials must meet the rather stringent requirements of American legislation on the presence of psychoactive components in it. The efforts of the municipal authorities of the states of North Dakota, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, California, Montana, West Virginia and Vermont to lift restrictions on the cultivation of industrial cannabis crops face opposition from the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

Nevertheless, in 2015, US farms specializing in the cultivation of industrial hemp crops took a prominent position in the international hemp market – the area of crops was about 1.6 thousand hectares. According to some experts of the hemp market, starting from 2016, it is in the USA that the area of crops of low-narcotic cannabis will increase rapidly.

According to the results of 2014, the official market volume of food and cosmetics, consumer goods, auto parts made of bio-composite materials based on hemp, as well as pet business products in the United States amounted to about $ 620 million. At the same time, the official volume of the food and cosmetics market grew in e-commerce stores by 21.2% (by more than $ 14 million, compared to 2013, in which the segment volume amounted to a little more than $ 80 million). In retail chains, sales volumes increased by 26.8%, and in free trade by 16.3%. Attention is drawn to the immutability of the trend in recent years, indicating an annual increase in sales of hemp food and cosmetics from 7.3% (2011), 16.5% (2012), to 24% (2013) and 21.2% in 2014.

The increase in sales in the food market in the USA is due to the following factors:
* during 2014, 11 states adopted regulatory legal acts regulating the cultivation of seeded cannabis on their territory, and given the success of legislative support for the cultivation of low-narcotic cannabis in 10 more states, small areas of industrial cannabis were legally grown in some regions for the first time. Naturally, this led to an appropriate advertising campaign and the entry into the American market of national agricultural producers, whose cost of raw materials is less than the exported cannabis from Canada, Chile, China or EU countries;
* the advertising campaign conducted in the country annually resonates with an increasing number of American households who recognize hemp products and products as a worthy alternative to other natural products, and even more so to synthetic products;
* the permission to conduct legal research with cannabis in 2014 led to the fact that during the year several hundred hemp products were brought to the market, already in active demand in the country.

Industrial hemp farming is actively developing

First of all, the areas related to food, construction, textile and cosmetics production.

Hemp has long been a significant part of the history of Hungary, and despite the unsuccessful twentieth century in this regard, the hemp industry has never completely disappeared

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Hungary is trying to restore the hemp industry. Currently, it is once again becoming one of the leading cannabis countries in the European Union.

Hungary has made a great contribution to high-quality stamps and commercial cannabis varieties. Many of them were developed by the famous cannabis grower Dr. Ivan Bucha. In addition to improving the four state varieties of cannabis, Bucha created the world's only commercial decorative variety of cannabis, although, according to him, it was sold a little. Currently, Hungary exports various hemp products, including paper, textiles, oil and plastic.

Currently, hemp farming in Italy is still a specialization of a small number of enterprises and is experiencing difficulties in achieving significant positions in the national and global market

The most important Italian industrial district in the field of hemp today is the province of Ferrara (Emilia-Romagna region), in which the cultivation of seed hemp is inextricably linked with long-standing traditions of local production. The area of cannabis crops in Ferrari is more than 1000 hectares. The raw materials grown are actively used in the textile and paper industry.

Germany sows 11% of hemp in the EU

The country specializes in the cultivation of hemp seed for the production of various food products and as a basis for cosmetic products. The construction direction is actively developing

About 9% of EU hemp crops are cultivated in the UK

The revival of hemp farming in the UK began at the end of the 20th century. Varieties of drug-free cannabis were created, and new technologies made it possible to produce not only medicines and food products from this plant, but also perfumes, construction, and structural materials that are very popular on the world market.
Hemp is widely used in the pet business, in particular as a litter for pets, primarily thoroughbred horses. The country specializes in the cultivation of cannabis seeds for the production of various food and personal hygiene products .
Both private business and the state invest in the development of industrial hemp farming in the UK. One of the most striking manifestations of his concern for the development of the latest construction technologies based on cannabis is the subsidization of research by the University of Bath. In addition, a RenewableHouse (renewable house) based on hemp technologies was created in BRE GlobalInnovationpark.
The achievements of the hemp construction industry have already been taken advantage of by representatives of the Suffolk Housing Society, with the support of which several dozen houses made of concrete have been erected as part of the social housing construction project in the city.

Current global
environmental trends

Many European countries are gradually mastering the production of hemp building materials. France has achieved significant success in this area with its patented Isochanvre hempcrete. This trend cannot yet be called massive, but over the past 10 years the use of hemp in construction has increased tenfold. During the world financial crisis, UK, France, Germany and Ireland developed their construction industries by using lightweight, primarily hemp-based, concrete.


Hemp is the new standard for the construction industry in Europe. One of the latest construction technologies involves the use of hemp in the finishing works, which creates a microclimate in the room, preventing the spread of pathogenic microorganisms and having a beneficial effect on the human body.


Common hemp as a filler in environmentally friendly lime plaster has been increasingly used in Europe for more than 10 years and is gradually beginning to be used on the North American continent.


Over the last few years, hemp insulation is becoming increasingly popular on the European market due to its high functionality, durability, quality and shape retention.


Scientists in many countries are now developing hemp medicines, including those aimed at treating cancer.


Cosmetic brands from France, UK, Germany, Canada, Japan and US use hemp oil as the main ingredient in products of all price segments.


Yvonne Wright, a British toymaker, makes soft toys from hemp fibre and other natural materials, drawing people’s attention to the hemp crop in such an entertaining and non-trivial way


The biology of the hemp crop has attracted the attention of manufacturers of infant diapers and waterproof panties for toddlers. According to Asian, European and North American experts, there is a huge market for baby hygiene and underwear made of hemp fibre


Clothes made of natural fabrics are in steady demand. The recent trend is to wear not only beautiful environmentally friendly clothes that do not use harmful paints or synthetic materials. Hemp fibre textiles are hygroscopic, are able to absorb moisture quickly and have hypoallergenic properties


Hemp snowboards have won an environmental award. Cashew, Yavana (2009–2010 collection) and Vice SQD (2010–2011) snowboards were recognised as the most environmentally friendly snowboards.


Scientists at the University of Connecticut have discovered that hemp may be a suitable feedstock for biodiesel production and have proposed making automotive biofuels from hemp. In Sweden, in the spring, after the industrial hemp crop reaches 15 % moisture content, the previous year’s harvest is gathered and sent to heat and power plants as an environmentally friendly biofuel.


During the global financial crisis in the automotive industry, hemp biocomposite products are in the highest demand. While some people are starting to produce electric cars in large series, others are developing cars with bodies made of organic materials, such as ordinary hemp (with an electric motor).

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