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Volume 686: debated on Wednesday 8 November 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have any proposals relating to the cultivation and uses of hemp in the United Kingdom.[HL8048]

Hemp is grown under licence in the UK for both non-food and food uses.

The Government encourage the sustainable development of the renewables sector, including hemp, through the strategy for non-food crops, launchedin 2004. Industrial uses for hemp include fibres, biocomposites, construction materials and horse bedding. Special varieties are used for pharmaceutical applications. A two-year progress report on the strategy for non-food crops, discussing impacts and future priorities, will be published on 16 November 2006.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the benefits and disadvantages of the cultivation of hemp as a cash crop in developing countries.[HL8049]

DfID has in the past funded research in Tanzania into the use of a form of hemp (sunhemp) as green manure to promote increased yields from a variety of cash crops. We do not currently provide direct funding for research into the use of hemp as a cash crop, but we do fund the agriculture research programmes of a number of regional and national institutes in Africa. These programmes reflect the priorities of the countries and regions concerned and they would include research to promote cash crops appropriate to these areas.

DfID recognises the importance of agriculture to the reduction of poverty and that cash crops can play a significant role in this—as part of wider strategies for sustainable agriculture.