Hemp Cultivation in EU

"The survey covers the harvest of 2013, related to a total cultivation area of 15,700 ha. The first figure shows the development of the cultivation area since 1993. Between 1993 and 1996 the cultivation of industrial hemp was legalised in most of the member states, others followed later. In 2011 the cultivation area decreased to its lowest value since 1994 (ca. 8,000 ha), but increased in 2012, 2013 and 2014, to finally reach 25,000 ha in 2015. In 2016 a further increase is expected. The main cultivation member states are France and The Netherlands. In recent years, many new European countries started or expanded their hemp cultivation, mainly for the production of hemp seeds.

"From the 15,700 ha in the year 2013, 85,000 tonnes of hemp straw were harvested and processed to:
"• 25,000 metric tonnes fibre
"• 43,000 metric tonnes shivs (woody core of the stem)
"• The relation between shivs and fibres (shivs : fibres) is of 1.7 to 1
"• 13,000 metric tonnes of dust (60% pelletized for incineration, 40% for compost and other uses)

"Hemp straw in Europe is only processed in a so called total fibre line, producing random nonaligned technical fibre. This is in contrast to flax, processed in long fibre processing lines, which produces a high value aligned, long textile fibre and a technical short fibre in a similar form to Hemp.

"Some companies also or exclusively processed hemp seeds or hemp flowers:
"• 11,500 tonnes (compared to only 6,000 tonnes in 2010) seeds
"• 240 tonnes (compared to only 7.5 tonnes in 2010) of flowers & leaves for medical applications (THC/CBD), food supplements (CBD) and the production of essential oil (for food and beverages)

"Whereas fibres and shivs did not show any significant difference between 2010 and 2013, the production of seeds increased by 92% and the production of flowers and leaves by 3,000%. The flowers for CBD production gave hemp farmers a considerable extra profit in 2013. It should also be mentioned that hemp is one of the very few crops in Europe that is cultivated on non-organic farms without the use of any agrochemicals. Strong, fast growing hemp crops are able to supress weeds without chemical support and the crop does not suffer from any pests or diseases that would warrant a spray. Hemp also grows well under an organic regime."


Michael Carus and Luis Sarmentano. "The European Hemp Industry: Cultivation, processing and applications for fibres, shivs, seeds and flowers." Huerth, Germany: European Industrial Hemp Association. May 2016, pp. 1-3.