A growing number of farmers are turning over part of their land to cultivate hemp - the non-medicinal cannabis plant - since a law change in 2018 made it legal for hemp seed food products to be sold here. Hemp seeds yield a nutritious and valuable food oil and the plant grows easily in many soil conditions with low input required.
One of the major players in the sector is HempFarm NZ, which now has a group of 90 growers around the country on nearly 15 hundred hectares. As well as producing a range of hemp seed food products from its plant in Tauranga, the organisation is planning to open a new processing plant in Christchurch in the next couple of months to produce a range of hemp and hemp and wool blended products.
Kathryn talks with co-founder of HempFarm NZ Dave Jordan, and South Waikato dairy and dry stock farmer James Bailey, who has just had his first hemp seed harvest.