Press Release – 15 December 2021: Ministry of Primary Industries


MPI assessment of the potential for a new primary industry, based on industrial hemp.

The NZHIA congratulate MPI on the release of their 60 page “Facilitating growth in the New Zealand Hemp Industry” report.

The report was independently prepared by Sapere and recognises the industrial hemp industry is “rapidly developing internationally, driven by recent deregulation and increasing interest in and demand for its use in a range of products”.

The report identified a number of comparative advantages for hemp production in Aotearoa New Zealand. Based on our strong track record in plant and food science and innovation, strong agronomic fundamentals, our “clean and green” image and availability of water in potential growing regions.

“These advantages can be leveraged to create a new primary food and fibre industry in regional Aotearoa New Zealand,” says Richard Barge, Chair NZ Hemp Industries Association Inc.

“The range of products and end uses, is a massive economic and local development opportunity, we just need to work out our strengths and co co-create regional industries around the existing capacity, resources and investment appetite”, says Barge

The report highlights there are lessons to learn from other jurisdictions, who have been successful in growing their industrial hemp industries. These include funding development and trials of suitable cultivars, often as part of a broader agriculture or business grants scheme and a focus on industry development rather than treating the industry as a health risk.

The low THC industrial hemp industry welcomes the report as an opportunity to work with government agencies to see the industry develop. “we are an annual crop well suited to the Aotearoa New Zealand farming rotation, and can provide an important alternative and sustainable source of raw materials for many industries” Barge says.

The Sustainable Food & Fibre Fund criteria and the aims contained in the MPI – Fit for a Better World program, are well aligned to the emerging industrial hemp industry. “Support from these sources will give industry confidence to invest in processing and products, which creates a sustainable demand for the crop” says Barge.

The report highlights a scenario showing an industry capable of producing $24.9 million and $5.3 million in export and domestic revenue. The NZHIA acknowledge this is a reasonable start, but according to their own AGMARDT funded study – NZ Hemp Export Driven Investor Report 2020, the food and fibre sector could be worth $500 million by 2030 and with a tweak to the regulations, a Nutraceutical Industry could add a further $1.5 Billion by 2030.

“We can be part of this global industry, we just need to do the work; create suitable cultivars to grow and invest in product winners. As an export-focused industry, we cannot compete as a commodity, and so the challenge is what high-quality products can innovative kiwi’s come up with that can satisfy high-value global niche markets”. says Barge.


New Zealand Hemp Industries Association
Richard Barge – NZHIA Chair
M: 021 706 690

Ministry of Primary Industries
For all media queries for MPI, please email: or call 029 894 0328


MPI Reports

Facilitating growth in the New Zealand hemp industry

  • This 2021 report analyses the actions required to support the development of the hemp industry in New Zealand.

Global Hemp Markets

  • In-depth analysis of the developing global hemp market, covering key markets, venture capital investment, and promising product categories. Published in 2019.

NZHIA Investor Economic Evaluation Reports:

NZ Hemp Export Driven Investor Reports:

Full Report here and Summary Report here

  • Prospects for the New Zealand hemp industry up to 2030. The reports highlight the investment appeal of the industry, and the enormous benefits regulatory reform would create for all those working with hemp.
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