Photo: Winter-hemp field in October
The demand for natural fibres is not only increasing in Germany and western Europe but also in the United States and Canada. So far, linen is mostly used in textiles based on natural fibres. Hemp-fibre-bundles, -yarn, or -textiles are imported almost solely from China. The demand for low priced natural fibres from renewable resources – like hemp – is increasing constantly. Many consumers want to purchase hemp-textiles “made in Germany or Europe”.
Especially hemp garment or with hemp content from domestic origin could increase the sales quantity tremendously.
Approx. 20 years ago, legislation allowed to grow fibre-hemp in Germany. After a first hype and significantly increasing cultivated area with some 100 ha the disillusionment came. The hemp quality could be used only for technical qualities, especially in the automotive engineering and for insolation purposes.
NFC participated in the FNR (“Fachagentur nachwachsende Rohstoffe” – responsible department within the German agricultural ministry) project “Growing of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) as winter catch crop” and in addition to this started self-funded research activities to determine whether this hemp is good for textile applications. In cooperation with a farmer from North Rhine-Westphalia we mastered all hurdles. The NFC has established a second main pillar in addition to nettle. Today we can offer diverse fine hemp blended yarns for an interested market.
The market trend to fair traded, ecological products aroused demand for hemp fibres that can be covered through sufficient cultivation area and production capacities with soundly developed technologies of fibre processing. The elementary hemp fibres are produced in the same mechanical production plant which is in addition under optimization for nettle fibres. The coordination between agricultural and technological steps in the production of fine hemp fibres allows the textile industries to open up a renaissance of domestic natural fibres. This has been supported by three German and eight EU law amendments in 2017 which we initiated. Farmers are now allowed to seed listed sorts of hemp after June 30th as winter crop after having indicated this to the local authorities in time.