An Introduction to Industrial Hemp Developments in Latin America

October 14, 2020

Guest Commentary from Lorenzo Rolim, President, Latin American Industrial Hemp Association

Lorenzo Rolim, President, LAIHA
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The Latin American hemp industry has entered into a new era in 2020, especially during the second half of the year. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of distress and put enormous pressure on economies all over the world; Latin American countries are not an exception. Given the many challenges mankind is facing during this year, governments in our region are now considering hemp and cannabis as big opportunities to generate investment, jobs, development, and overall economic improvement. 

On top of the pressure created by the global pandemic, the world is now seeing the effects of climate change in real time and suffering its consequences. Hemp seems to be an opportunity that is mostly aligned with the United Nations’ 17 Social Development Goals, and therefore is now being pushed forward at an almost urgent pace.

The region’s economies are highly dependent on agriculture and overall the region is a major exporter of agricultural commodities. Hemp is now seen increasingly as an agricultural commodity and is currently being exported by Uruguay, Paraguay, and Colombia to Europe and North America. 

This economic driver is causing the governments of these countries to create more and more mechanisms to facilitate the production and commerce of hemp and its many byproducts. For example, Uruguay is now a reference for the export of dried hemp flowers with a high CBD content, and is developing an excellent commercial relationship with the Swiss market and a few other European countries. Colombia is focused in exporting extracts and more finished products, with companies in the country focused on North American markets and the United Kingdom. Paraguay took a different approach and is completely focused on the production of hemp seeds, flours, seed oil, and natural fibers, and is already exporting food products into North America, less than one year after the regulation of hemp in the country.

The Latin American Industrial Hemp Association provided price data associated with those transactions, which is included in the table below.

Our team at the Latin American Industrial Hemp Association is very happy with the advances that were made during this year. We are also very excited to see other countries in the region looking at hemp as an opportunity to stimulate their economies and create a more sustainable path towards the future.

Hemp hearts: Hulled hemp seeds; the soft center inside the shell of a hemp seed.
Hemp flour: After hemp seed has been pressed to remove its oil, the remaining material – sometimes called hemp cake – is milled into flour.

Editor’s Note: The preceding commentary has been edited lightly. Guest commentary must adhere to Hemp Benchmarks editorial standards, which emphasize independent, objective analysis of market conditions without promoting any particular businesses, products, or services.

Hemp Benchmarks is working to expand our coverage of industrial hemp product prices and markets outside the U.S. If you are part of a hemp industry organization, business, or other hemp-related association, please feel free to contact us to discuss developments in your country or region.

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