3 Dec 2012

Hemp company sows new season's crop

9:43 am on 3 December 2012

A South Island hemp producing company has just finished sowing the seeds for this season's crop.

Ashburton-based Midlands Seed's farmer suppliers have planted 60 hectares of hemp during November, all of which are licensed by the Ministry of Health.

Midlands Seed oil extraction subsidiary managing director Andrew Davidson says the hemp will be processed into a range of products, only some of which can be legally consumed in New Zealand.

He says the New Zealand regulations permit the sale of hemp seed oil as a food, but no other hemp seed products.

Mr Davidson says the cold presses the seed to produce hemp seed oil, which produces a by-product of meal.

"Hemp seed meal produces a very nutritious protein, so we've developed a process whereby we separate that protein from the fibre in the cake. We're unable to sell that protein in New Zealand at the moment so it's currently exported."

Mr Davidson says New Zealanders may soon be able to access a wider range of hemp foods as Food Standards Australia New Zealand recently recommended hemp foods be approved for sale both here and in Australia.

Government Ministers are due to consider the recommendation this week.