A New Zealand company is set to receive a $1.34 million government grant to research and develop hemp fibers for products like flooring, food packaging, and activewear, according to a Stuff report. New Zealand Natural Fibres (NZNF) will use $2 million of its own funds in addition to the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Sustainable Food and Fibres grant.
The company has previously received a $202,000 government grant to develop sustainable hemp technology and processes, the report says.
NZNF Chief Executive Colin McKenzie told Stuff that the funding would help the firm ramp up innovation and enhance its growing, processing, and marketing capabilities.
“We’re also developing and testing non-woven products, including a natural hemp fiber-based material that could replace single-use plastic food packaging, and a hemp fiber replacement for synthetic geotextiles used to stabilize soil in infrastructure works.” — McKenzie to Stuff
McKenzie added that hemp has “huge potential” to be part of the solution for some of the “most crucial” environmental challenges facing societies and the planet. The company plans to also investigate how hemp might be used to produce a natural replacement for carbon composites, packaging, building materials, and other industrial applications.
MPI Investment Programs Director Steve Penno said the project will focus on hemp plant genetics, including new variety sourcing and development, on-farm production, and agronomic development. He told Stuff that the project promises to add “considerable value” to New Zealand’s hemp fiber industry.
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New Zealand Hemp Firm Gets $1.3M Government Grant for R&D