Aulnoy (France) (AFP)
In the village of Maisoncelles-en-Brie, in Seine-et-Marne, the harvest of hemp that began in September is about to end and the smell that emerges plants is confused to be mistaken with that of his cousin cannabis.
The green stems rise up to three meters and give an impression of tropical forest, a setting that detonates in this cereal corner of Ile-de-France.
In recent years, the cultivation of hemp is back in the day in the region and the sector is organized to offer varied opportunities for this ancestral plant as in automotive, food or cosmetics.
"The main difference with cannabis is that the rate of THC is less than 0.2% so we can very well smoke it, it will have no effect," warned Eric Grange, director of Planet Hemp, company that harvests and transforms the plant.
"Easy to grow", the hemp has "a strong agronomic interest", explains Franck Barbier, farmer Ile-de-France and president of Planet Hemp. "Once planted, the plant does not require human intervention until it is harvested, no plant protection products are needed, no water needed either, and it stifles weeds." A plant that behaves like a "soil aspirator".
Thus, a wheat crop can earn "up to 10% yield" after the passage of hemp, said Rémi Baudouin, advisor to the Chamber of Agriculture of Ile-de-France.
These arguments appealed to nearly 200 farmers in the Paris region who devoted 2,200 hectares, mainly in Seine-et-Marne and Essonne. The area has doubled in 8 years, says the Chamber of Agriculture, while this culture had disappeared from plots in the Paris region until 2008.
- "Everything is good in hemp" -
Hemp was once used for ropes, "we talk about Christopher Columbus and others who crossed the oceans with hemp," says Grange. "Then cotton arrived and it's an industry that has disappeared."
From now on, the environmental stakes push the big industrialists to look again on this ecological plant which will be able to "make your jeans of tomorrow", assures it.
"Everything is good in hemp": the seed called hempseed is rich in omega 3 and 6, it has a taste of hazelnut and can be eaten as it is; hemp is also found in the form of flour, oil and cosmetic cream.
The fiber, the outer part of the hemp stalk, is used in the paper industry, textile or plastics industry.
"You can light up a car by making the inside of the hemp door, and the vehicle will be less fuel-efficient in diesel or diesel," says Grange. the company equips German builders.
- Hemp concrete -
As for the chènevotte - the heart of the stem -, it allows to manufacture hemp concrete when mixed with lime. "The process is not new, in the Middle Ages it was used to build the walls of the houses of masters," says Sebastien Burin, manager of a company specializing in hemp construction.
The last project of the young thirty is the construction of a school of 1,700 m2. "It's not just a joke in a country corner, we make big buildings with ecological processes and respectful of the environment", defends the craftsman.
At the experimental kitchen site, locally produced hemp concrete is sprayed directly onto the wood frame. In just a few hours, three walls are erected.
Hemp has a card to play in Ile-de-France, "important food and construction basin", says agricultural adviser Rémi Baudouin, but the investments are heavy: the production costs little but the tools of transformation are high, especially the defibration line that separates the different parts of the hemp.
It takes "5-6 million euros at startup and the yield remains low compared to crops such as wheat or rapeseed that dominate the Paris region," says Baudouin.
For the regional hemp industry, "the return of hemp meets the expectations of society". It calls on the public authorities, the elected officials, the urban planning organizations to "seize the question and impose this biobased tool in the specifications of the public calls for tenders".
© 2019 AFP