Thursday, 28 January 2021 13:25

MBIE funds hemp research

Written by  Staff Reporters
MBIE will provide funding to a project researching hemp and its qualities. MBIE will provide funding to a project researching hemp and its qualities.

A Taranaki-based medicinal cannabis and industrial hemp venture is part of a group that will investigate ways to turn hemp seed hulls into products for the global market.

Greenfern Industries is part of a partnership that was awarded $145,000 in cash and in-kind funding for research into products created from the by-products of hemp seed oil processing.

Greenfern will work alongside industry partners Callaghan Innovation and Hemp Connect as part of the project funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Bioresource Processing Alliance (BPA).

BPA invests in research and development projects with the aim of generating additional export revenue for New Zealand by working with the primary sector to get better value out of biological by-products.

Greenfern’s hemp is grown in Central Otago and Taranaki and the company has plans to expand hemp seed farming to double its crops this year.

The company has already teamed up with Sustainable Foods and the Riddet Institute research centre in a project to turn hemp seeds into food products such as plant-based meat substitutes and cosmetic products.

“We have plans underway for rapid expansion, so we’re keen to find added value opportunities for the by-products of hemp seed processing,” says Greenfern managing director Dan Casey.

Previously, whole hemp seeds were cold pressed for hemp seed oil and hemp seed cake remained as the by-product with a high fibre content but without a pleasant taste.

Now, Greenfern and its partners will see how they can use the entire hemp seed.

The project will look at ways to convert a significant volume of hemp hulls and other parts of the seed into higher value products such as oil, protein peptide supplements, and water-soluble hemp protein for beverages.

“As well as creating new products for export, there is an opportunity to work on new or improved ways of processed, improving yields, and reducing waste. Given our commitment to sustainability, we’re naturally really excited to be part of this research and development project,” Casey says.

As part of the project, Greenfern Industries and Hemp Connect will provide the hemp seed, staffing, and marketing experience and will explore new market opportunities and sales channels in New Zealand and Australia.

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