RUSSIA- A Russian cannabis processing plant will soon be launched in the Republic of Tatarstan, paving the way for hemp-based feed additives onto the market.

According to Dinar Shakirzyanov, general director of the Association of Hemp Breeders and Processors, the plant would primarily focus on manufacturing a unique feed additive from industrial hemp.

We are increasing the efficiency of the basic feed ration thanks to microbiology and enzymes found in our supplement, as well as increasing the feed nutritional value with [the use of] hemp cake,” Shakirzyanov said, adding that so far, industrial hemp has not been allowed for use in feed production in the country, but this is about to change. 

Product certification is expected in July, so in August, we could already enter the market,” Shakirzyanov added. 

Shakirzyanov recalls that the original idea of launching such an operation in Tatarstan belonged to a group of Japanese investors, who pulled out of the project for various reasons. 

Irina Kupriakhina, chairman of the board of the light industry union of Tatarstan, recalled that hemp is not entirely new for the republic. It was grown by local farmers until the 1960s when the government imposed a nationwide ban.

Recently, unutilized equipment from Soviet times was found, and the investors plan to “restore it, make it automated, and buy something more” to make the facility operational. 

Why [resuming hemp production] now? First of all, we are returning to this plant because of the sanctions; we have to look for solutions on what we can produce and what to grow. As soon as it was remembered, they [investors] decided that hemp was suitable; it could be grown,” Kupryakhina said.

Although Shakirzyanov did not provide additional information about the production technology, he revealed that in 2023, 150 ha of technical hemp has been sown in Tatarstan with the number expected to expand to 2,000 ha in 2024. 

Shakirzyanov provides that the investors plan to source seeds from a local supplier Mordovian Hemp Plants LLC.

He also emphasized that the feed additive is due to be based on the technical, not medical hemp. The key difference is that technical hemp doesn’t contain certain cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, such as tetrahydrocannabinol, that make them psychoactive.

According to Markets and Markets research, the feed additives market, valued at US$38.1 billion in 2021, is projected to grow to US$49.6 billion by 2026, with a 5.5% annual growth rate during 2021 and 2026.

Therefore, the development of alternative additives, such as hemp-based additives, is bound to drive a significant portion of this anticipated growth. 

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