While many people only associate hemp with illegal drugs, there are actually nearly 25 thousand ways it can be used. It once used to be grown in the third biggest land in Hungary; however, its production was greatly diminished in recent years.
Now it seems like hemp is making a comeback in Békés County, where a public work programme tries to bring the hemp industry back to life, reports Hello Vidék. Thanks to that programme, a new industrial park could be designated to hemp production in a few years.
Hemp production used to have a great tradition in Hungary where it was grown on 23 thousand hectares, falling short behind sugar beet and sunflowers. Following the transition, this number decreased, and the Hungarian hemp industry ceased to exist in 2007.
While hemp is an incredibly versatile plant, it is also very labour-intensive. It is still harvested by hand in most places.
Hemp could replace paper and is a great material for the textile industry. Hemp seed oil has many health benefits and is used in cosmetics and potentially as biodiesel. Hemp seed flour is a great flour substitute if you are gluten-intolerant. Hemp is also a great insulation material.
The town of Vésztő in Békés County used to have nearly 1,000 unemployed people, thus more than half of them was placed in a public work programme three years ago. This very programme is trying to kick-start the Hungarian hemp industry.
Vésztő grows hemp on 2 hectares of land and processes it in the local factory. They sell seeds and produce hemp seed oil and hemp flour. The excess is exported to be processed in foreign countries like the Czech Republic, Germany, and Austria and then brought back to Hungary for distribution.
The representative of the factory, Zoltán Hívó, says that the enthusiasm surrounding hemp production has decreased mainly because of the intensive labour it requires. They are not considering expansion without the appropriate automation.
A new industrial park is being built in Vesztő for hemp processing.
According to Hívó, they hope the project will be completed as it would generate new jobs by the hundreds. A few nearby towns have operating factories already, but they have a significant amount of public workers, so once the park is completed, they may receive a higher income in the future.