Monday, March 10, 2008

France is today the leader in European hemp production. This plant was much a part of its history, as discussed in previous posts. A recent article by Estelle Garnier, Martino Nieddu, Marc Barbier and Bernard Kurek titled "The Dynamics of the French Hemp System and Its Stakeholders" in the Journal of Industrial Hemp Vol. 12 #2 (2007) assesses the present situation. Hemp comes under the aegis of an organisation dedicated to the paper industry. However, the current context (saturation of the principal outlet and uncertainty regarding the maintenance of the European Union subsidies), makes it necessary to enhance the added value of the hemp crop by diversifying its outlets and by using the whole plant.
As the hemp industry has grown, a number of organisations have come into the picture to facilitate investment, networking and research. These include: La Federation Nationale des Producteurs de Chanvre (FNPC); La Cooperative Centrale des Producteurs de Chanvre (CCPSC), and; Le Comite Economique Agricole de la Production du Chanvre (CEAPC).
The first of these (FNPC) is both a national union of hemp producers and the only structure to have an activity of breeding of new varieties of hemp which can be registered on the European list of officially authorised varieties.
The second (CCPSC) is the only cooperative multiplying French hemp seed, and also intervenes in the process of certifying varieties.
The third (CEAPC) is an association consisting of the FNPC and all departmental unions which carry out checks of the THC content in the hemp crop on behalf of the administration and which collects duties according to the conventions for the control of contents.
These three are national structuring organisations, as are Interchanvre, L'Institut Technique du Chanvre (ITC) and L'Union des Transformateurs (UTC).
On a more international level, there are two structuring organisations: La Confederation Europeenne du Lin et du Chanvre (CELC) and L'Association Europeenne du Chanvre Industriel (EIHA).
The former of these is based in Paris, and was created in 1951 under the name of the CILC. The latter is more recent, having been founded in 2000 in Wolfsburg, Germany. It brought together all or most of the European primary processors, but a number of the large French processors have left.
All of these are closely linked and indeed there is some degree of overlap, with personnel of one group serving at another.
After the structuring organisations, there are 13 primary transformers mentioned in the article, which are: Belon, Assoc Appro Fibre 47, Daifa, Bio Midi-Pyre, Grpe Limousin, Chanvre Mellois, Grpe Loire A, Grpe Dodogne, Assoc pour le Chanver Industriel, Terrachanvre, PDM, Eurochanvre, and LCDA.
Next there are research organisations, which number around 20. None of them are primarily dedicated to hemp, with all or most working also on flax and other natural fibres. These include: Apollor, Universite Chateau-Malabry, Universite de Nantes, Universite Limoges, Universite de Bretagne, Institut Francais du Textile et de Habillement, Ecole Superieure des Technologies et Industrie de Bois, Ecole National des Travaux Publics de l'Etat, Centre de Recherche des Macromolecules Vegetales, Centre Technique du Papier, and Institute National de le Recherche Agronomique.
Research has increased much with the new millenium, as evidenced by the average number of patents for hemp processing rising from 2.4 per annum from 1990-2000 to 6.4 per annum from 2001-2005.
There are hundreds of hemp producers, with 9,000-10,000 ha grown yearly. This, however, amounts for only a small amount of agriculture, as the total land mass under cultivation is 29,556,652 ha.
There are also a number of French internet sites in service to the hemp industry, which include:

No comments: