Press Release from the Bioeconomy Boosting Events in the Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic, April, 26th 2018 - The National Cluster Association (NCA) as the Czech partner of the DanuBioValNet project hosted the awareness workshop on bioeconomy and international meeting of experts in the hemp industry. The 16 project partners from 10 countries of the Danube Region cooperate in the field of bioeconomy development, such as phytopharma, eco-construction, bio-based packaging and hemp industry. The partner countries are thus connected not only through their common historical relationships and geographical position in the Danube catchment area but also due to the need of a desirable shift in the sustainable development policy implementation.
One of the roads towards bioeconomy is the fulfilment of The European Commission Bioeconomical Strategy goals, i.e. the strengthening of the role of bio-based industries. The EU supports, among other things, seed treatment, cultivation and processing of crops with a wide use and ambition to replace non-renewable resources, especially crude oil. Based on the NCA initiative, the discussion was opened within the DanuBioValNet project on the topic of the hemp use as a multifunctional, broadly applicable crop of the future.
The hemp (lat. Cannabis), with its historical tradition of being grown and exploited for manufacturing tough textile fibres and rural healing has the best prerequisites to become one of the important feedstocks for the new era of bioeconomy in the conditions of the post-oil society. The hemp passes through the renaissance all around the world and the researchers and scientists increased rapidly their focus on re-discovering the plant’s features expanding the traditional ways of use. Beside the textile industry, the hemp finds application in construction, food & beverage, paper, bioplastics, pharmacy and cosmetics and also as the biomass for energy generation. The use of the medical hemp in medicine is also the subject of further extensive research and development. The undisputable benefits of the hemp cultivation are: comparatively low demands on soil and water, the possibility of using all parts of the plant, fast growth without the need of excessive fertilization and positive historical experience of cultivating the plant in the North Temperate Zone for more than ten thousand years, that eliminates any unpredictable environmental impact. The range of agricultural land used in Europe for the cultivation of industrial hemp increased by 400 % in five years period (2011-16). This trend is led by France, but among the top European producers there are also countries, such as Ukraine, Hungary and Romania1. That is why, it is the interest of the DanuBioValNet project partners to develop cooperation of different actors in hemp clusters.
The hemp industry roadmapping workshop that took place in Prague on 26 April 2018, visited by Austrian, Croatian, Czech, Serbian and Slovak experts and project partners stipulated the priorities leading towards a higher use of hemp as one of the strategic bioeconomic feedstocks. Among these, there are the education and awareness building on the role of hemp in different industries based on scientific results, formation of the hemp clusters in the Danube Region and their cross-sectoral and cross-regional cooperation, harmonisation of legal regulations and standardisation of the hemp industry along its value chain in the EU. Both events were supported by the DanuBioValNet project co-funded from the EU funds (ERDF, IPA).