Industrial hemp project gets green light


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Field of industrial hemp under commercial production (source Lyn Stephenson)

A new AgriFutures Australia project will seed the future of industrial hemp – an ancient fibre crop earmarked as having potential to exceed $10 million as an emerging food and fibre industry by 2025.

Tom McCue, AgriFutures Australia, Senior Manager Emerging Industries said the project would map out a business plan to develop the industry and design a trial system to identify the best-performing industrial hemp varieties.

“We see variety performance testing and agronomy trials as a high-priority for the industry and this project will provide seed funding to investigate an option for a national hemp cultivar trial scheme,” said Mr McCue.

“Increased production in certified industrial hemp seed will underpin industry growth so credible information about hemp cultivars and suitability for cropping in Australia is vital for attracting new producers to the industry.”

Corporate advisory firm, Rounding Up will deliver the project over 12 months and Executive Director, Tony Eyres said he was looking forward to engaging with the hemp industry to find solutions.

“There is a great opportunity for Australian growers to capitalise on growth of current and future products derived from industrial hemp with Global Market Insights predicting the market to surpass US$270 million in size globally, by 2025.”

“Our job is to assist AgriFutures Australia expand the production footprint and support grower capability here in Australia,” said Mr Eyres.

He said the three-fold approach included:

  1. Building a commercially-centred and sustainable business plan for the Australian industry
  2. Developing an industry-sponsored National Cultivar Trial scheme that enhances product knowledge and grower management practices
  3. Sourcing co-sponsorship and funding from government and private investors to actualise the business plan.


Rounding Up will also leverage networks and experiences from other sectors to benefit the Australian hemp industry in meeting its growth aspirations.

In 2017, the Australian Parliament passed legislation that permits the use of industrial hemp seed and seed-derived products for human consumption in Australia.

In contrast to medicinal cannabis, industrial hemp has low levels of the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

Notes to Editor

About AgriFutures Australia   

AgriFutures Australia is the trading name for Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC).  AgriFutures Australia invests in research, leadership, innovation and learning to support industries that do not have their own research and development function, new and emerging industries, and the issues that affect the whole of agriculture.

About Rounding Up

Rounding Up provides advisory services to clients seeking capital and commercial partnerships to allow business growth across key trade-exposed sectors of the Australian economy, primarily agribusiness and food. Rounding Up’s clients include family-owned and operated businesses, listed and unlisted corporates, SMEs and government entities in Australia and overseas.

About Tony Eyres     

Executive Director, Tony Eyres has enjoyed access and exposure to the highest levels of government, corporations and industry representative bodies across Australia and off-shore including key customers and competitors of Australian exports.

Project examples include:

  • Formerly Manager of the Birchip Cropping Group, current Chairman of Southern Cross Agricultural Exports (broadacre cereals, pulses, oilseeds and ancient grains) and experience with the National Variety Trials programme
  • Sector specialist advice on development of a new agricultural investment capability targeting global investors for a global investment bank’s real assets division
  • Advice on corporate structures, financing and governance to a consortium of local and state government agencies developing water infrastructure to supply multi-national customers.



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