September 14, 2023

Sustainable Farming Model: Hemp Processing in Middle Black Sea Region

The cultivation and processing of hemp is one of the key and strategic sectors of the Turkish economy. After the Presidency's announcement of the "Industrial Hemp Growth Report and Action Plan in Turkiye" in January 2019, the cultivation and processing of hemp is viewed as vital and essential. “Black Sea Fibre Plants Workshop” was organized by the Middle Black Sea Development Agency (OKA) in Samsun, Turkiye on 5-6 May 2017. In the final report of the workshop, it was stated that hemp plants should be grown and facilities for processing should be established in the Black Sea Region.

Gümüşhacıköy, district of Amasya, is considered one of the most enticing and suitable place in Turkiye with its fertile soil for hemp cultivation. In 1970, the foundation of “Gümüşhacıköy Rope Twine Urgan Small Art Cooperative” accelerated the institutionalization among farmers. The processing of hemp dates back to the year of 1984. The first processing factory in the region was established by this cooperative in the district. It produced roving and yarn from hemp fibre in the years between 1984-1986. However, consumer demands have changed because of the fact that cotton and synthetic threads were cheaper than processed hemp products. The failure to keep up with the changes in technology and the managerial weaknesses precipitated the process of stopping the production in 1986.

As time goes by, the use of hemp in textile, medicine, cosmetic, defense and food sectors has increased the demand for hemp. In 2022, the Cooperative drafted a project in order to reactivate the idle plant. The project, financed by the Middle Black Sea Development Agency and with a duration of 17 months approximately (until 20th February 2024), aims to revitalize the cultivation and the processing of hemp in Gümüşhacıköy. With this project, it is planned to obtain semi-finished products (fibres) primarily for the textile industry by processing raw materials (hemp).

Some of the expected impacts at the end of this project will be the full implementation of the production and sales operations in the producing hemp facility and the direct employment of 21 people at the factory and 200 farmers dedicated to the cultivation fields. Workers will be will be trained on modern production techniques, and will actively sow hemp on the fields. The private company “Mem Tekstil”, an expert in the field of producing yarn, will operate the facility.

This project will also encompass the surrounding districts as well. Attending the social perspective, when the project will be completed, families will have the opportunity to live in the countryside, reducing and preventing migration from rural areas to metropolitan cities, and reducing the unemployment rate in the district also promoting the inclusion of specific collectives such as women and youth in the workforce.

Sustainability is also one of the project pillars. The cultivation of hemp plants will be based on natural growing, avoiding the use of chemical spraying (pesticides) or chemical fertilizers, this will also reduce the necessity of water on hemp production. The transformation of the final products will be done according to international standards (such as OEKO – TEX or Passport Detox to Zero, among others) and technology that finally will maximize the environmentally friendly impact and the production of healthier products.

Further information

(available in Turkish)