Growing Industrial Hemp in the UK

To apply for a licence please follow the two links below:

  1. Home Office
  2. Hemp Growers Information 
Here follows important information for farmers:

During February 2018 Defra ( The Department of the Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs) opened a Consultation on:

Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit (click this link for the full consultation).

Quoted from the main consultation:  ”  3. An ‘agricultural transition’:

4. A successful future for farming:

Farming excellence and profitability As we reduce Direct Payments, we can move resources to support better value for money initiatives and promote efficient farming practice that will underpin our new domestic policy. Whether it is producing high quality food that commands premium prices, pioneering technological breakthroughs to boost efficiency, or developing new ways of protecting and enhancing the environment, the best British farmers are innovators and pace-setters. Across the industry, there are opportunities to go further and improve productivity, profitability and performance through research, adoption of best practice, investment in new tools and technologies and adoption of new business models [EC:40]. Individual business decisions are key to future progress and boosting the economic performance of farming. The government wants to play its part and help to make this happen.

Case study:

AB Agri, company profile:

AB Agri is a £1.2 billion animal nutrition and agricultural services business, part of Associated British Foods plc. It operates across the agri-food supply chain from research to retailer. The business began in 1984, working with British Sugar (click link for more info) to take leftover waste from sugar factories and convert it into nutritious and cost-effective animal feed. It has rapidly expanded through acquisition, technological expertise and nutrition innovation.

AB Agri now employs more than 2,000 people and supplies products and services to
farmers, feed and food manufacturers, processors and retailers, selling products in more than 70 countries.

AB Agri is investing in driving the use of technology in agriculture and using data to deliver insight and drive real time productivity improvements. It provides independent advice, services and support to growers who wish to use precision crop production techniques to improve the economic, agronomic and environmental performance of their farm business.

The business is also an advocate for careers in the agri-food supply chain, helping to inspire young people to consider careers in food and farming. As well as offering
apprenticeships and graduate programmes, the business cultivates strong relationships with local colleges and schools.”


Photo source: Pinterest


SOURCE: The Telegraph and Julia Bradshaw
25 OCTOBER 2016 • 12:00PM

British Sugar to cultivate cannabis plants in Norfolk for GW Pharmaceuticals

British Sugar will be swapping tomato plants for cannabis seedlings after signing a long-term contract to supply the crop to drugs company GW Pharmaceuticals.

The marijuana plants, which are of a non-psychoactive variety, will be grown in British Sugar’s 18-hectare glasshouse in Wissington, Norfolk, where the company, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods, is currently cultivating tomatoes. The space is the equivalent of 23 football pitches.

“Every year we try to work out the best commercial assets for the glasshouse,” said Paul Kenward, managing director of British Sugar.

“We had always been interested in looking at pharmaceutical crops but never quite found the right partner. We recently did in GW.

“Our glasshouse is very well suited for growing that particular variety of the cannabis plant family and it’s fair to say that the return will be better than on tomatoes. We’re confident of decent yields.”

GW Pharmaceuticals, a UK biotech, has developed an experimental treatment called Epidiolex for severe forms of childhood epilepsy. It is derived from compounds in the cannabis plant and has achieved stellar results in final-stage trials.

The glasshouse will provide enough raw crop a year to treat 40,000 children globally, making British Sugar a major supplier to GW.

“GW wanted a very professional grower and we have that expertise. This is a crop that goes into medicines and needs to be grown consistently and reliably,” said Mr Kenward.

“By growing this crop we are indirectly helping sick children and doing something socially worthwhile.”

Epidiolex medication:

The first seedlings will be planted in January and there are three crops a year, with the first harvest in April. The plants will be picked and packaged on site and transported in bales to GW.

Cannabis plants need a lot of light and heat and British Sugar generates this in an environmentally friendly way: electricity, heat, steam and fertilizer are bi-products of the sugar-making process at its nearby factory.

“We have invested a lot in lights and blinds to manage light exposure,” said Mr Kenward.

“Carbon dioxide helps all plants grow and we have that available from our sugar factory.

“Sugar is our key input but we turn it into a range of different things. This is just the latest step in our innovation journey.”

British Sugar’s annual sales fluctuate with the sugar price, so when wholesale prices of the sweet stuff are low, the company’s peripheral businesses, such as power generation and horticulture, become quite significant.

“We are growing the non-psychoactive plant in the cannabis family, so it has no value to anybody other than GW as a pharmaceutical ingredient,” Mr Kenward added.

A spokesman for GW Pharmaceuticals said the decision to partner with British Sugar was a consequence of its expertise in growing.

Epidiolex has the potential to be a breakthrough medication for children with rare forms of epilepsy, for whom there are no effective treatments.

GW plans to file the drug with US regulators in the first half of 2017 and chief executive Justin Gover hopes that the treatment could be on the US market by the end of next year, with a European launch following shortly thereafter.

Accordingly, the company has been ramping up production and manufacturing and expanding its commercial sales force.




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