Hemp has been around for thousands of years. With records dating as far back as 8,000+ B.C.E., this multi-functional plant has been used around the globe throughout history for more purposes than you can imagine. From paper to honey, smoothies to straws, medicinal oils to building material – you name it, hemp can do it.
In recent years there has been a significant shift in the search for more sustainable products. And with hemp’s versatility shining light on innovations, this green warrior has been catapulted into the limelight. Hemp statistics speak for themselves: the global industrial hemp market is projected to grow from $4.6 billion in 2019 to $26.6 billion by 2025.
China has notoriously dominated the market for years. But ever since the Farm Bill was passed in 2018, the U.S. has stepped up and become one of the biggest contenders for the top spot. So let’s look at who the world’s largest hemp producers currently are and what the predictions are saying for the future.
Hemp Statistics Prove China Holds the #1 Spot
The ancient Chinese have used hemp to spin yarn and clothe citizens for thousands of years. So it may not be a surprise that they currently lead the way as the world’s largest hemp producer. Marijuana’s cousin claims its fame as one of the earliest crop plants to be used in China. And it still plays a prominent role in society, only now it’s primarily used in traditional medicine, snacks, and oil.
It’s estimated that Chinese farmers have planted a staggering 200,000 to 250,000 acres of hemp. With Chinese consumers purchasing 60% of the Hemp produced on its lands, a significant 40% is exported internationally.
However, it’s not easy for Chinese farmers to enter all markets. With tight regulations over the transfer of hemp seeds between states, most Chinese companies are not licensed for CBD production. This creates massive potential for rival countries to jump on the bandwagon and make the most of this budding market.
Canada Is the Second Largest Hemp Producer in the World
Since legalizing hemp production in 1998, our friendly northern neighbors have become one of the most well-established leaders in the hemp market. According to Gain Report’s hemp statistics, an impressive 77,800 acres of industrial hemp were planted in 2018. The largest hemp-producing companies dominating the Canadian market are located in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
Surprisingly, this number dropped from the year before, when the country had planted over 120,000 acres. Highly regulated procedures have made it increasingly difficult for Canadian hemp producers to compete in new and promising areas such as the CBD market.
What’s more, historically, the U.S. has been Canada’s biggest importer of hemp. U.S. hemp import statistics show that in 2018, over 70% of the country’s hemp seeds journeyed southbound across the border. But with U.S. hemp production now legal and on the rise, the future is not looking as promising as it might have been for our friends up north.
U.S. Hemp Producers Come in at #3
Thanks to the passing of the Farm Bill last year, the U.S. has seen exponential growth in hemp production. Over the last few years, many farmers have searched for alternative sources of revenue. And although it is no easy challenge to cultivate, the demand for hemp-based products has grown significantly. With States such as Montana, Colorado, Oregon, Kentucky, and Tennessee leading the way, the future looks promising for those farmers willing to enter new markets and become the following U.S hemp producers!
As China and Canada battle against strict regulations, entering the CBD market has been a real game-changer for the U.S.; estimated to grow at a CAGR of 125.5% by 2026; it’s no surprise that excitement is in the air.
In 2018 Gallop reported that two in three Americans favored legalizing marijuana. Our nation’s perception of recreational plants has been a significant shift. So it’s no wonder the demand for its medicinal cousin, hemp, has been booming ever since. The stigma is going away. More and more people are learning about the characteristics and qualities that differentiate hemp from marijuana. And as they do so, the U.S. hemp market continues to rise dramatically. Maybe next year, they’ll be closer to that number-one spot!
So with the world’s top three largest hemp producers leading the way, European leaders such as France and Estonia, as well as other world contenders such as Chile, will need to step up their game and get producing more hemp. After all, the more, the merrier! With so many sustainable uses for this environmentally friendly crop, let’s hope more countries start to recognize and value the positive change that hemp can bring to our planet.