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True New Zealand Adventures

New Zealand’s Hikurangi Enterprises has been granted a license from the Health Ministry to grow a trial crop of hemp in the eastern region of Ruatoria, according to a report from the Gisborne Herald. The trial aims to determine if the crop would benefit local farmers.

According to Hikurangi chairman Panapa Ehau, the first plot, set for 400-square-meters, is due to be planted this month.

“The focus is on building our knowledge of this crop and developing the necessary relationships that will lead to a successful entry into a small New Zealand market,” he said in the report. “Industrial hemp might provide such an opportunity, with favorable growing conditions and a skilled workforce.”

Manu Caddie, business development manager for Hikurangi, said they will target hemp oil for the first round of crops and are seeking cultivation experts that will help maximize the gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), omega 3 and 6 content and protein in hemp seed.

“The oil is known to help with a range of ailments, including diabetes, obesity and eczema,” Caddie said. “The trial will help us gauge the potential for the crop under different growing conditions.”

This is the third hemp trial in the region and the most recent bid in 2004 showed promise for the crop in the district.

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