Hemp Farming in India
Hemp, the wonder crop which could breathe new life into the agricultural economy of the country is becoming relevant again. And even though Hemp is making a comeback, its farming in India is still developing due to several statutory restrictions finding their roots in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985, which has been proven outdated with reference to its classification of Hemp.
Learn about India’s History with Hemp
Hemp: The Story of Supply and Demand
The bulk of raw Hemp demand in India is being satisfied by imports from foreign countries, while its cultivation is still a subject of debate in India. Uttarakhand is the first Indian state to promote Hemp cultivation, with several states following suit to liberalize cultivation. Uttarakhand is committed to supporting its farmers by rolling out various subsidy schemes, such as providing fertilizers at subsidized rates, providing financial support of up to 100300 for irrigation facilities and so on. Several other states in India like Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh are considering various options to legalize Hemp.
Sec.10 of the NDPS Act (Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances) enables the State governments to allow cultivation of Hemp for medical and scientific purposes. Research has proved that 1 ton of Hemp filters out approximately 1.63 tones of CO2 from the air, so it is not only profitable but also beneficial for the environment.
Why is there a struggle to legalize Hemp in India?
A Long Way Ahead
Even though several states are leading the charge to liberalize the production of Hemp, there are still major obstacles that hinder the growth of industrial Hemp in India. Cultivating Hemp on a large scale requires plantations, but with the stigma attached to hemp cultivation and prevailing statutes limit the availability of land for its cultivation. The NDPS Act is a remnant of colonial times, new reforms are needed to enable more and more farmers and entrepreneurs to seize the opportunity to reap the benefits of Hemp.
Source and References:
- Rohitt Sharrma, How Convenient it is for Entrepreneurs to start Hemp Business with Existing Hemp Policies in India?, Entrepreneur India (Dec 23, 2020, 8:15 pm) https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/331292
- G Seetharaman, Hemp cultivation: Uttarakhand's plan to hand out licences to grow the plant is a welcome step for farmers' livelihood, The Economic Times (Dec 23, 2020, 8:15 pm) https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/hemp-cultivation-uttarakhands-plan-to-hand-out-licences-to-grow-the-plant-is-a-welcome-step-for-farmers-livelihood/articleshow/50249456.cms?from=mdr
- Industrial Hemp: An emerging opportunity for India?, Sathguru (Dec 23, 2020, 8:15 pm) https://blog.sathguru.com/agribusiness/industrial-hemp-an-emerging-opportunity-for-india/
- Rakesh K Maikhuri & Kottapalli S Rao, Organic Farming in Uttrakhand Himalaya, India 165 (International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 2015)