Importance of cultivating industrial hemp

In the textile and agricultural industry, the productivity of hemp is 2 to 3 times more than that of cotton. If the cultivation of hemp in India keeps expanding it can soon make the country one of the largest producers in the world. It will not only increase the GDP per capita but also improve the socio-economic standards of Indian farmers as well as become a profitable source of income for them.

Hemp, which is a variety of the cannabis Sativa plant, is a climate adaptive crop. Its seeds are rich in nutrients so it does not strep the soil of nutrients instead returns 60% to 70% of nutrients to the soil. It is a carbon negative crop so it actually absorbs CO2 from the air. As compared to cotton, it can be produced with half the amount of water and soil and has thrice the tensile strength. Loamy soils that are rich in nitrogen are considered ideal for the cultivation of hemp. The central plains of India near the Ganges river basin have the perfect soil and weather conditions to grow the plant. It can grow from 90 cm to 4m in height depending on the weather conditions, availability of water and the seed varients.

India being a tropical country has greater photoperiod which promotes growth and flowering of the plant. What makes the plant so unique is its ability to grow without any pesticides or herbicides. It is a low maintenance crop unlike marijuana.

Hemp can further be redefined into a variety of commercial items like paper, clothing, textiles, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food and animal feed. It can be a great alternative to plastic which has a huge contribution to global warming.

In the long run, if India sees the potential of this plant and takes the production to a larger scale then it can do wonders for the country.

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