BOLOGNA, Italy — Today the first European plant for the production of high-quality hemp fibre has been inaugurated in Comacchio in the province of Ferrara. This hi-tech facility with low environmental impact (comment*: it is a normal scutching mill built by Depoortere with an old hackling line, nothing new or high-tech) was built over a surface area of 8,000 sqm and cost almost 10 million euro. The 25,000 quintals of hemp produced in 2003 will be manufactured to extract 2,500 quintals of combed long fibre, 4,000 quintals of short stringy fibre (comment*: they mean for twine and ropes), 1,500 quintals of short dressing fibres (comment*: they mean for spinning), 14,000 quintals of canapulo (wood) and 3,000 quintals of powders from dressing fibres.
The “Ecocanapa” plant will be fully operational and capable of working on 55,000 quintals of straw with an average per hour of between 1,400 and 1,600 kgs. Hemp, according to the president of the Canapaitalia Consortium Claudio Botta, is a plant capable of producing two times as much fibre as a cotton field of the same size. Among hemp’s qualities are the fact that you can get a more durable type of paper and one that can be recycled many more times than that produced by wood, something that represents a good strategy against deforestation. Also one must consider that you need much less water to cultivate hemp than cotton, that its roots release nitrogen, which fertilises the earth, and that thanks to its resistence it does not require pesticides.
In Emilia Romagna there are 64 agricultural companies involved in the project of the region to bring the area on which hemp is cultivated from the current 980 hectares to over 1,300 hectares.
*comments by: nova / Cesare Tofani, Gruppo Fibranova
Source: Global Hemp-News vom 2003-12-12.