In its interim report presented today, the Victorian Government’s Industrial Hemp Task Force has strongly advocated a test facility.
The proposed site – Mildura’s SuniTAFE SMART Farm – was announced by Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes.
The task force spoke with industry stakeholders and research organizations for 12 months to identify opportunities and issues in the industry.
Key insights included improvements in processability, closing knowledge and experience gaps in hemp growing, removing regulatory barriers, and clearing and accessible market intelligence.
The task force monitored a memorandum of understanding between SuniTAFE in Mildura and the Australian Primary Hemp.
The two-year collaboration includes industrial hemp research and development as part of SuniTAFE’s SMART Farm project to assess the suitability of low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) hemp varieties.
Since hemp was included in Australia’s New Zealand Food Standards Code in 2017, the demand for food and oil products has grown rapidly, but the industrial hemp industry is still in its infancy, Symes said.
“If successful, the attempt would send a strong positive signal for hemp production and cultivation in the Sunraysia region, which could lead to the establishment of a promising new local industry and create more local jobs.
“Through the Task Force, we have developed a thorough understanding of the industrial hemp industry and regulations – this information is critical to our next step in developing industrial hemp in Victoria.”