Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Costa Rica begins evaluation of industrial hemp

It is the first authorized planting in Costa Rica and the first results are expected in about six months.

QCOSTARICA – The Ministry of Agriculture (MAG) reported the beginning of evaluations for the cultivation of industrial hemp in Costa Rica, with the first three cultivars.

Trials to determine the behavior of industrial hemp began under greenhouse conditions, in Cañas, Guanacaste. Photo: MAG

“Three cultivars of the species that are used for the production of fibers, seeds and essential oils were brought into the country, which registers a low level of THC and a high level of CBD”, explained Arturo Solórzano, director of the National Institute of Innovation and Transfer of Agricultural Technology (INTA).

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The trials aim to determine the behavior in the field in two zones with different conditions: the Caribbean At the Los Diamantes experimental station, in Guápiles, and in Cañas, Guanacaste, at the Enrique Jiménez Núñez experimental station.

The MAG reported, both through Facebook live and in a statement, on Wednesday afternoon, November 4, that the first results are expected within six months.

This trial is the first authorized planting of industrial hemp in Costa Rica. MAG Minister Renato Alvarado warned that there is still no law in the country for the development of this activity.

Industrial hemp is a plant of the Cannabis family, among which is marijuana. But the production of alkaloid substances or THC (tetrahydrocannabinol; psychoactive component of marijuana) are very different.

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The National Institute for Innovation and Transfer of Agricultural Technology (INTA) will be in charge of the tests.

In the case of hemp, all parts of the plant are used to make a large number of products, such as food supplements, topical solutions, bioplastics and sustainable construction, as well as soaps and lotions and textiles such as clothing and uniforms.

A study by the Promotora del Comercio Exterior (Procomer) – Foreign Trade Promoter – identified many market opportunities for the export of products derived from industrial hemp.

Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado has expressed his intention to promote the cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes, as an option for economic reactivation, while a bill is being discussed in Congress that would provide a legal framework for the activity and use of cannabis with medicinal purposes.

The proposed bill, promoted by legislator Zoila Rosa Volio, would legalize the industry, with oversight by the Ministry of Agriculture for the production, industrialization, and commercialization, and academic study would be supervised by the Ministry of Health, would also set a framework for marijuana for medicinal and therapeutic applications.

Agriculture makes up almost 7% of Costa Rica’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and employs 14% of the country’s labor force.

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Costa Rica’s main exports include bananas, pineapples, coffee, sugar, rice, vegetables, ornamental plants, corn, potatoes and palm oil.

 

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