In January 2020, the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) published the Hemp and Agriculture Report of 2018 Campaign illustrating the available statistic data from the hemp sector. France accounts for 37% of industrial hemp cultivation in Europe with 17,900 cultivated hectares. Italy follows with 4,000 hectares cultivated (8%) and the Netherlands with 3,833 hectares. The survey was conducted recollecting information from official documents of Member States from the European Union, and through the direct contribution of data from Latvia, Luxemburg, Austria, Denmark, Slovakia and Sweden.
In Europe, the cultivation of industrial hemp covers 50,081 hectares. The cultivation has increased by 3.3% compared to 2017 data and by 614% if we look at the 1993 data.
The flowers and leaves of industrial hemp are mainly used in the production of food supplements (58%), essential oils (20%) and tea (6%).
Hemp seeds, on the other hand, are mainly used for a direct use of the seed, such as to create new crops. Moreover, as far as the food department is concerned, flour, oil and peeled seeds are the most produced foodstuffs. A relevant information to look at here, in regards to seeds, is that almost 90% of them are sourced within the European Union. Even though some countries are not as strict in regards to the exclusive cultivation to EU-certified seeds and, as far as low-THC hybrids go, the stark difference between the level of progress made in the US and EU would suggest sourcing seeds in the US (especially for flower production), EU companies are still almost exclusively sourcing their seeds ‘locally’.
In recent years, therefore, the cultivation of hemp in Europe has increased sharply. Indeed, Europe has developed a processing infrastructure and a finished product industry that uses hemp as a valuable and innovative product. From food to textile to mining, the use of industrial hemp in Europe is growing more and more than in previous years. In fact, many European countries, first of all Italy, have allowed the production of hemp without psychotropic effects and intended for agro-industrial use in recent years. Moreover, the growing global interest in the legalization of cannabis has had repercussions on the industrial hemp sector because it is seen as a valid alternative in various sectors and an example of sustainable economy.