Dutch group HempFlax has invested EUR 5 million in hemp growing and processing in Romania, where it opened its first factory in October. The factory is located in Alba county, in central Romania.
Hemp growing and processing has been increasing in Romania in recent years, as the processed hemp is mostly exported and used in various industries abroad. Several local and international producers are looking to revive this industry.
Before 1989, Romania was the fourth largest hemp exporter worldwide, but the cultivated surfaces went down dramatically after 1990, reaching a few hectares in the early 2000s.
The EUR 5 million investment HempFlax has made in Romania aims to support the hemp growing and processing sector in Romania. The Dutch company buys hemp bales from local farmers, which it processes into fibers.
HempFlax also grows its own hemp and has about 500 hectares cultivated with this plant near Sebes. The company aims to grow the cultivated area by 300 hectares each year, as it needs 5,000 hectares of crops to use its factory to full capacity.
The hemp fibers are a renewable and durable raw material, which can be used in many industries and can replace synthetic fibers like nylon, glass fiber, and plastics. This is why, HempFlax aims to revive this industry where Romania used to be a top player worldwide before 1989, according to Oana Suciu, general manager HempFlax Romania.
Hemp fibers are used in the paper industry, insulations industry, auto industry, as well as in the textile industry. The hemp wood can be used in constructions, in combination with lime, and can replace concrete. The seeds and leaves are used in the food industry, as well as in the cosmetics industry. Hemp cultivation requires no chemicals, pesticides or herbicides.
Romania’s legislations allows industrial hemp growing, but only for specific varieties, which have low THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) concentrations of under 0.2%. Hemp is closely related to marijuana.