Barbetorte

YOUR SAY: Hemp is a versatile crop

FURTHER to a recent letter, hemp is a very versatile fibre crop, making excellent rope and cordage.

In fact, during the sailing ship era, especially during times of war, it was a capital offence not to grow a crop of hemp for use by the navy. When the Endeavour was in Bundaberg, her cordage end to end would have stretched to about Mt Perry.

I remember in my youth, the sweet smell of hemp rope smoldering in metal shops as they were used to light acetylene torches.

According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, there is a global market of about 200 million users and the price for the product depends on proximity to cultivation, severity of prohibition regimes and where legal on taxation: Norway $21.90 (per gram), Estonia $20.31, Finland $19.12, Japan $15.67, Ireland $13.45, Australia $7.05, South Africa $4.45, Afghanistan $4.35, India $3.03, Brazil $2.41, and Uruguay $1.

It's only the stems that are used for cordage, so the farmer could add considerably to his bottom line, about $7050 per kilo at today's street prices, by selling the heads. But this could come down as the market becomes decriminalised, controlled, mainstream and saturated.

DIETER MOECKEL, Wonbah



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