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Goal of industrial hemp is to augment existing food security planning

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Dear Editor,

In response to the letter on industrial hemp in SN dated October 21,2020, written by Dr Tara Singh, the following is an explanation to the concerns raised about the impact of industrial hemp on food security and management concerns.

Industrial hemp “will not compete” with Guyana’s National Food Security agenda. Industrial hemp will be a highly controlled and regulated crop; it is not an open source crop like any others (tomato, corn, rice, soyabeans) whereby a farmer can simply and randomly access seed and plant. In this regard, there will not be a “rush” of farmers abandoning their yearly normal cropping to “indiscriminately” plant hemp.

Industrial hemp requires careful business planning and cultivation execution, along with most important markets tie-ups. To appease the “hemp financial investor,” this high-value crop, with careful sourcing of specific seed varieties to meet the Guyana’s tropical climatic and soil conditions, will be carefully managed. The “third party” financial investors/ stakeholders will secure their investment on these careful planning grounds to secure their returns on investment. There will be no arbitrary cultivation as people may seem to think.

To ensure this crop benefits the nation’s farmers, the Vihara Foundation, and its consultants, will work with Government Ministries to ensure the proper controls and farmers’ engagement/scheduling are in place. There are various business development formulas the government could encourage, of which the Vihara Founda-tion suggests the best sustainable one to support all farmers is the hemp farmers’ cooperatives.

Investment Models that are adoptable by government policies are: (I) Most advisable – Farmers’ cooperative model – this will collectively allow small and medium sized existing farmers to merge their resources and assets to collectively achieve hemp private sector enterprise development. This business model is not only dependent on land and assets, but will incorporate skills and labour, and include no land-owning stakeholders. (ii) Advisable – Government-owned enterprise investment, like GuySuCo, whereby, government owns and controls the hemp cultivation investments and lands, with the government passing down the social benefits to workers (e.g., jobs). (iii) Advisable – Government may also sub-lease unused sugarcane and other lands to private hemp growers under a Private-Public-Partnership (PPP) arrangement. (iv) Least Advisable – Monopoly Corpo-rate Control – whereby, Government permits and allows large corporations with deep investment pockets to own and control the hemp industry.

BUSINESS CAUTION. Industrial hemp cropping must be carefully scheduled to meet market outlets (domestic and international) and downstream manufacturing schedules; hemp financial investors are overly cautious not to finance hemp cultivation that has “no precision market outlet.” Production must be 100 percent marketable, either directly as in the case of raw fibers for textiles (China being the biggest market), with by-products having market absorption, such as feedstock for downstream industries such as hempcrete building materials, paper, cardboard, composites, etc. Without careful planning, harvest may end up being backlogged into warehouses (without market outlets) creating an investment loss.

Ideally, Industrial hemp will be incrementally scheduled (zoned and sized), and permitted (by government) and scaled up to complement market outlets, and manufacturing. To do otherwise is impractical and will not be encouraged. Local seed production investments will be foremost. Industrial hemp must be zoned and highly regulated to manage government legal compliance, with heavy penalties and potential prosecution for willful violation (since it has very close resemblance to the Marijuana crop). Modern technologies will be specified to deal with managing these issues and helping government meet compliance.

Industrial hemp is a high carbon sink (meaning, the plants suck carbon dioxide four times as normal plant from the atmosphere and buries it into soil). With this natural trait/benefit, industrial hemp replenishes soil fertility naturally. Further, when rotated with sugar cane, it can increase sugar yields by 30 percent (based on existing trials). Industrial hemp will in fact augment Guyana’s national food security, as it is a nutritious source of rich human and animal food. The goal of industrial hemp is to augment existing food security planning with the appropriate government policy and controls. The industrial hemp proposal also is not an isolated cropping idea, as it is meant to be integrated with Guyana’s national food security master planning. We are happy to provide further clarification if requested.

Yours faithfully,

Dennis Ramdahin, MSc.

President/CEO & Founder, Vihara

Foundation

Source: https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://www.stabroeknews.com/2020/10/23/opinion/letters/goal-of-industrial-hemp-is-to-augment-existing-food-security-planning/&ct=ga&cd=CAIyGjYxZmRhODRmNjY4MjhhNTU6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNH4trhbYrg69Dd7mB1YYD0ptQXsAw

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Republished by Plato

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Heartland

Republished by Plato

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Heartland

Republished by Plato

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