Currently, there are approximately 30 countries around the world that are legally permitted to cultivate hemp. China is reported to cultivated hemp on 20,000 acres in 2016. According to the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), European countries cultivated hemp on 80,000 acres of land, with the majority of Europe's hemp production centered in France, the Netherlands, Lithuania, and Romania.
In the United States, the USDA reported in 2019 that there was an estimated 6787 hemp licenses issued for production and 155,688 acres of hemp planted. In 2018, Canada planted 77,929 acres of hemp and exported nearly 5,400 metric tons of hemp seeds, valued at an estimated $50 million USD. As reported by the USDA, Canada’s primary hemp export is seeds, with 70% of its export volume, going to the United States, followed by Europe and South Korea. This is however, expected to decrease drastically in the next few years with the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill in the United States.
Industrial hemp can be used in over 25,000 products. With the right technology, all hemp crops can produce high-value products.
Specialized hemp processing facilities are needed to produce high-value products. Currently, there is a production gap in connecting farmers with high-value markets, due to the lack of technological infrastructure available to the market. As high-value products are the key to hemp industry growth, successful processors will need to be technologically advanced in order to enter these high-value markets.
Current conventional decortication uses the same hammer mill or hammer mill-like mechanisms (rollers, scutchers, gins, etc.) that have been used for over a century. The mechanical action of these decorticators utilizes a beating action to break down and separate the hurd from the bast fiber, significantly damaging both streams and creating a substantial amount of dust, which limits the hemp fiber products to low-value markets.
The patent-pending, state-of-the-art kinematic mechanism employed by HempTrain™ Advanced Hemp Processing Plants, does not damage the fiber or create dust. In fact, HempTrain™ does more than simply decorticate hemp fiber, separating the whole plant into multiple high-value fractions; including a high-CBD extraction-ready fraction, a green microfiber, long structural bast fiber, size-specified hurd, and seeds.
One of the most widespread high-value markets is the CBD industry, a reported $22 billion industry by 2022. As the market matures and legal regulations evolve, the sales of hemp-cbd products are expected to grow. Hemp Industry Daily projects hemp-cbd sales will reach $10.3 billion by 2024. HempTrain’s capability to separate extraction-ready high-CBD allows processors to dry and extract from a much higher concentration feedstock, reducing their costs and increasing efficiencies.
As illustrated below, some of the high-value markets only achievable with specialized advanced processing facilities include;