A Maritime Industrial Hemp Product Marketing Study
A Profile of Key Canadian Growers & Processors
B1. Key Canadian Growers and Processors
The following six companies or consortiums have emerged as the key licensed players in the Canadian hemp growing and processing sector. Based on available information, they account for about 80% of the acreage planted this year.
B1.1 Kenex Ltd. (Pain Court, Ontario)
Kenex Ltd. is a privately owned and operated Canadian company focusing on three main areas of production:the fibre, core materials (called hurds) and the seed. Within these areas, various levels of processing will occur to satisfy customer’s needs. The Kenex objective is primarily to be a bulk sales supplier of fibre products and core materials to various manufacturing industries rather than a manufacturer of finished goods to be sold directly to consumers. Raw material production is contracted with 54 growers who have planted more than 2,000 acres this year. They expect to triple production by the year 2000.
The two principles of the firm are Jean Laprise and Claude Pinsonneault. Laprise is the owner operator of Laprise Farms Ltd. with 1,500 acres of tomatoes, seed corn, peas, soybeans, corn, hemp and brussel sprouts. Mr. Pinsonneault was the founder of the Hemp Research Project in Kent County, Ontario, conducted in association with Gordon Scheifele and Ridgetown College. He is also a partner in Pinco Farms, a 1,000 acre diversified cash crop operation, growing tomatoes, seed corn, field corn and soybeans. They also operates a custom seed corn detasselling business.
Kenex Ltd. recently completed its second hemp processing building. They have purchased processing machinery from the Netherlands and are now testing the fibre separation lines with hemp. An oil press will be operational by late summer. The capacity of their line, which will start-up in August, “exceeds” this year’s crop. A matting facility will also be completed this season and the company is evaluating the feasibility of a pulping project.
B1.2 Consolidated Growers and Processors (Winnipeg)
CGP (Consolidate Growers & Processors) is a publicly traded, multi-national company arising from partnerships with enterprises in Europe experienced in processing and marketing hemp. They provide North American markets with fibre and seeds from hemp and other industrial crops. They are also spearheading hemp projects in a number of emerging countries in Africa, the Middle East and India and ranging from seed breeding through to end products.
The varieties planted include Zolotonosha 11 and 13, Fedora 19 and Felina 34. 30 farmers have contracted with CGP for mostly grain production (only one field was dedicated to fibre) and another 30 who will provide fibre to CGP but have alternatives for their grain.
CGP recently acquired 100% interest in WERNER ZOLLIG AG, GLULAM LUMBER MFG. CORP. (ZOLLIG), a Swiss manufacturer of laminated beams for construction. Zollig manufactures high-end beams for industrial and residential construction. CGP, the first multi-national hemp company, will implement the use of hemp fiber into glulam beam production allowing greater strength and flexibility. Zollig also manufactures fine furniture that will be treated with hemp fiber for reinforcement.
CGP had initial plans to construct a major hemp processing facility in Western Canada for the 1998 growing season but to date this has not materialized. A $6 million processing plant is now expected for July 1998. Only Kenex Ltd. and Hempline Inc. have decorticating plants in Ontario Western and the Canadian Hemp Corporation of Victoria has recently purchased a hemp grain processing plant. CGP has recently acquired a DEUTZ-FAHR GIGANT 400 HP Fiber Harvester that will be used later in August 1998 as part of their hemp harvesting system. The event was open to the public. The company hopes to plant 25,000 acres on the Prairies in 1999.
CGP recently licensed a new marking technique for security papers (which is invisible to the naked eye) under the trademark StuffDust.
B1.3 Hempline Incorporated (Mount Bridges, Ontario)
Mr. Geof Kime is a founding director of Hempline Inc. along with Joe Strobel, a company working to develop hemp as a profitable natural renewable resource in the tobacco growing regions in Ontario. They received the first research license in Canada in 1994. Since that time, Mr. Kime has been instrumental in lobbying the Canadian government for commercial production of hemp, and is developing a pilot-scale hemp fibre separation process.
Hempline Inc. have developed their own proprietary “hempline”, intended to produce fine, spinnable fiber for furnishing and carpets. The unit, in operation since early June, can process 2-3 tonnes/hour. The company is focusing on carpet manufacturing using hemp fibres as a backing material. They have provided US companies with baled hemp for testing and development and claim they have markets for all of their 1998 production. There are no plans to enter the clothing markets as this would require a significant investment in specialized equipment.
B1.4 Prairie Hemp (Manitoba) and Hempola Inc. (Mississauga)
Prairie Hemp has contracted with about 40 growers who planted about 500 acres of Fedoral 9 this year. The company has aligned itself with Hempola Inc. of Mississauga, Ontario to serve the oil market. Hempola markets both edible oil products and a line of body care products. Hempola Inc. is pursuing a relationship with at least one organic grower in the Maritimes.
Hempola Inc. has been importing Chinese seed which is then pressed for oil and marketed across north America. A report on the company is being prepared by Canadian National Geographic Magazine for release later this year.
B1.5 Western Growers (Winnipeg), The Natural Order, R&D Hemp (Toronto), Hempola Inc. (Mississauga)
Ruth Shamai runs The Natural Order in Toronto (originally a mail order business started in 1990), and is a principal of R&D Hemp. In 1997, the Ontario government granted her $60 thousand in funding to investigate hempseed and seed oil production. On the fibre side, Ms. Shamai manufactures hemp socks and T-shirts in Canada and reportedly has developed the first knit fabric in Canada.
The company has contracted with the Body Shop International based out of England (about 40% of the oil they will produce this year). Two representatives from the Canadian and UK offices for The Body Shop indicated the five new products (moisturizers, lip balm, hand protection) manufactured in the UK are but a range of products numbering over 500. They have been sourcing seed from France. There are no expectations they will manufacture the products in Canada. The new line will be available by year end in the 120 stores in Canada (nine located in the Maritimes). The hemp grain will be contracted through Hempola Inc. and grown through Western Growers in Saskatoon, processed and the oil shipped to the UK.
Hartman Krug, President of Canada Cordage in Kitchener, Ontario (a yarn and twine manufacturer) has recently signed an agreement whereby The Natural Order will provide hemp fibre to the company for processing and then act as sole purchaser of the finished hemp twine. The company currently imports 100 thousand pounds of flax from Belgium each year at 40¢ per pound, and exports the finished product to the US. They have not used hemp for over 30 years but at this point feel they have nothing to lose in trying the venture. It is however, an insignificant part of their business, given fibre throughput of about 5 million pounds annually.
B1.6 Canterra Seeds Ltd. (Winnipeg)
Comprised of a group of about 15-20 seed growers, this company is pursuing seed multiplication of the elite European variety Fasamo. As members of the Canadian Seed Growers Association, they also supplied seed for over 200 acres of Fedora for Prairie Hemp Ltd. Hemp is considered an additional crop to their regular list of grains, oilseeds and pulses.
B2. The Maritimes
While there are about as many key Maritime individuals or groups as in the rest of Canada, production scales are incomparable. Total Maritime production amount to only about 150 acres.
B2.1 New Century Farms (Billington, Nova Scotia)
Mike Lewis, the first licensed grower in the province, has teamed up with a retired businessman. They have planted about 11 acres of the variety Uniko B. They plan to construct processing facilities next year and expand to as many as 2,500 acres. They plan to purchase land and establish business relationships with other Kings Country growers. Ultimately, the plan is to develop a vertically integrated industry within Kings County with concentrated growing areas in three locations of county. Processing will be established in two locations including some value-added manufacturing. Potentially, they could serve the pulp and paper markets and provide processing for the short-fibre and long-fibre textile markets. The hurds could then be sold to the livestock bedding markets. At this point the group is also investigating the potential for research and development on hemp oil in association with a Nova Scotian scientific research group.
B2.2 Don Hunter (Pugwash Area, Nova Scotia)
Mr. Hunter seeded 13 acres of Uniko B and Secueini under a commercial growers license. At this point, he is exploring market opportunities but will focus initially on the fibre markets.
B2.3 Dr. Chuck Schom (St. Andrews, New Brunswick)
Under this research permit, about 10 acres were seeded to four fibre, late season varieties (Uniko B, Irene, Kompolti and Secueini) at ten sites to determine their agronomic characteristics. Fibre markets will be explored.
B2.4 The Canadian Hemp Company Ltd. (Fredericton, New Brunswick)
This company has teamed up with a small number of local growers and other interested parties to plant over 90 acres. At this point, they have received federal funding to investigate several aspects of the industry.
B2.5 Maurice Van Daele & the Island Hemp Company (Point Pleasant, PEI)
The only research-licensed grower on the Island, Mr. Van Daele seeded 17 acres this year in association with the PEI Food and Technology Centre. Potential markets include textile and chip board plants, the pulp and paper industry and the potato sack market.