2008-08-20

Press release: Inequality between proposed natural fibre processing aid endangers European hemp industry

European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) proposes single processing aid for all natural fibres and adding Renewable Raw Materials (RRM) to the EU's list of priorities for direct support

The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) hereby would like to discuss the proposed fibre aid processing scheme and the community strategic guidelines for rural development by first of all describing the hemp industry including applications, materials and advantages of hemp production. Following this introduction the statement aims at emphasizing the inequality of the transition period for the proposed fibre processing aid. It recommends a more nondiscriminatory proposal of fibre aid between hemp and flax production during the transition period. Finally EIHA is focussing on the inequality between the possible aid for bioenergy and biomaterials due to the modulation proposals of the Commission and attempts to emphasise the importance of the material use of agricultural resources.

Dear Sir or Madam,
we are writing to you with an important message about the European Hemp Industry and Renewable Raw Materials (RRM) in general.

The EU Commission is in the process of performing a “Health Check” on the Common Agriculture Policy. Their proposal for the production of natural fibres is to continue support for Flax just grown in Belgium, France and Holland but to stop the support for the Hemp Industry, a crop grown all over Europe.

Their proposal will lead to further severe inequality between the two fibres and there is now a great risk that we could lose this valuable crop and its associated rural Industries. Its innovative products are now used in many fields including Horticulture, Automotive, Construction and Biomaterials. Hemp can and is helping in the battle against climate change.

The EU proposal is now in the hands of each Country’s Agricultural Ministry for discussion. We are asking for your support to avoid the inequality between the two fibres and at the very least help to ensure that Hemp continues to get aid until 2013 when we can stand alone. Attached You will find the detailed statement of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA).

Furthermore EIHA is proposing the improved access to modulation funds for Renewable Raw Materials (RRM) by adding this category to the EU’s list of priorities (second pillar) in order to diminish the inequality of support between energy and material use of agricultural resources. Whereas the energy use is directly supported by the scheme, RRM can only be supported indirectly by clearly indicating the advantages (i.e. water management, biodiversity, climate change). Natural fibres including hemp are a prime candidate for this classification and as such will be eligible for direct “Second pillar” support.

We thank you in advance for taking the time to read our recommendations and we very much hope that they will get your backing,

Yours Sincerely

John Hobson, President of EIHA
Michael Carus, Managing Director of EIHA

Statement of the EUROPEAN INDUSTRIAL HEMP ASSOCIATION (EIHA) regarding the draft proposal for the flax and hemp fibre processing aid scheme and the guidelines for rural development (modulation) of the European Commission (PDF)