The USA’s National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) has received $200,000 in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Market Access Program (MAP) funding.
MAP funding supports agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups and small businesses in the USA in overseas marketing and promotional efforts to build commercial export markets for the nation’s agricultural products and commodities.
The NIHC will use the cash for activities including market research, trade policy and facilitation; with a focus on markets in Europe and China. It will have its work cut out for it as both regions have significant local production of hemp. But with so much hemp now being produced in the USA and it being the third largest producer of the crop in the world, foreign markets will be important to sustain and grow the USA’s domestic industry.
On the plus side, there is very strong and growing demand for hemp products. The NIHC says the global industrial hemp and products market was estimated at $11.1 billion in retail sales in last year.
“With an annual growth rate of 52 percent, driven by continued strength in textiles, food and industrial uses and hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), the global market is forecast to be worth $89 billion by 2025,” the organisation states.
U.S. farmers planted less hemp this year than in 2019 as a result of uncertainty surrounding regulations, falling wholesale prices and stockpiles of biomass and flower from the previous season. No doubt many hopeful eyes will be on NIHC’s progress.
“Today’s announcement makes NIHC a trusted partner to USDA for hemp fiber, feed, food and CBD companies looking to break down trade barriers in markets overseas,” said NIHC Senior Vice President for Trade and Marketing Kevin Latner last week.
The NIHC points out it is the first hemp organization to be included as a MAP partner. The USDA granting the funding is another significant milestone in the crop’s journey to the mainstream. It may not be long before you can mention the word “hemp” and it not raising eyebrows or having to launch into an explanation of the difference between it and marijuana.