On April 2016, the production of industrial hemp was legalized by the Greek state after 60 long years of prohibition, introducing new opportunities and markets to a country that is trying to get back on its feet. It’s been a long known fact that Greece’s agriculture and farming sectors have significant growth potential, especially for organic production and niche products/ markets. With the right climate, soil and geographical profile, hemp cultivation can flourish. As a result of recent legislation, KANNABIO, the first Organic Hemp Social Cooperative in Greece, was established few days after the Ministerial Decision was signed.
KANNABIO hemp social cooperative has as a mission to promote Greek Hemp as a quality product of origin and assist the development of the Greek Hemp Industry. Our goal is to get involved in organic and cooperative hemp farming and processing, to produce quality organic hemp products, to promote social and solidarity economy and protect the environment. Moreover, KANNABIO hemp cooperative will undertake participatory research on hemp cultivation and processing, will inform and raise awareness about the benefits of hemp for the economy and the environment, while providing expertise, international networking and promotion opportunities to local partners. KANNABIO will oversee the production of organic hemp oil extraction products, nutritional supplements and personal hygiene products, as well as the production of hemp-lime for building materials.
Two farmers- partners of KANNABIO hemp coop are among the first three farmers that received permission to cultivate hemp in Greece in 2016 in a total area of 0.8 hectares (pilot cultivation) in Psachna Evia and Chania Crete. KANNABIO members are involved in hemp trade since 1998 and are at the forefront of hemp legalization campaigning in Greece since 2005. Both farmers had hemp shops that were raided by police in 1998 and their products (clothes) were confiscated, while they faced a lengthy trial period for many years before they got acquitted but never compensated.
KANNABIO’s vision for Greek organic hemp is to become an international standard of quality through cooperative cultivation and processing. We want to lay the foundations for the promotion and the sustainable use of the plant, and we want to actively contribute to the establishment of a healthy and cooperative hemp market in Greece, by supporting sustainable agricultural practices and rural development.
We want to promote cooperative principles and a philosophy of working collaboratively. We’re not focused only on the commercial side of hemp, but our aim is to provide awareness, training, engagement, job creation and social consciousness, alongside the production of quality, organic hemp of Greek origin.
Currently KANNABIO hemp coop is finalizing its business- investment plan in order to attract a 250.000 euro investment for establishing a small scale cooperative production unit of hemp oils, hemp nutritional and personal hygiene products. Our production target for 2017 is to sign contracts with farmers for 25 hectares.
In parallel, KANNABIO hemp coop has developed a more integrated vision for cooperative hemp cultivation and processing in Greece, to support the setting up of the Greek hemp industry. This includes the creation of a mobile Hemp Caravan Museum that will travel all around Greece and will visit 15 cities where public events with guest speakers and guided exhibition tours will be realized for key stakeholders (farmers, processors, traders, public officials) and the general public.
This action will ensure filling of the knowledge gap that 60 years of hemp prohibition created and will contribute to capacity building and sensitization of farmers and other professionals on the market prospects of cooperative hemp cultivation and processing. This is necessary in order to pave the ground for the sustainable prosperity of the Greek hemp market.
Moreover, our cooperative vision includes the setting up of a Public Limited Company that will create and operate a large scale hemp processing unit (maximum output 5 tons/hour) producing fiber, shivs, flowers, seeds and dust. The processing unit will also have a production line of hemp insulation and construction material. The total investment will be 3-4 million euros and the initial capital of 1 million euros will be divided in 10.000 shares at 100 euros each. The first production target is 200 hectares and the longer term target is at 2.500 hectares. The PLC will employ by priority unemployed, skilled youth and women, 35% of its net earnings will be reinvested in the cooperative, its employees and the creation of new jobs, while it will be governed by its shareholders. The shareholders will hold one vote each in the General Assembly, nevertheless of the amount of shares they own (no more than 5% of the company share value for each shareholder). The PLC is already announced in public events and has received great interest from potential partners, investors, farmers and media from all over Greece.
We strongly believe and we have proposed to State Authorities that in Greece we have the capacity and the potential for the creation of 10 cooperative processing units in 10 different regions that will be able to process at least 2.500 hectares each, by utilizing abandoned industrial facilities all over the country. Our long-term vision is the Cooperative Greek Hemp Industry to cultivate and process 25.000 hectares of hemp in 10-15 years time.
Finally, our cooperative vision includes the establishment of a non-profit Hemp R&D Foundation that will develop Greek hemp breeds by utilizing past and ongoing research and will provide technical support for cultivation and processing. The Foundation will also provide applied research and applications on cooperative schemes and practices for hemp cultivation and processing.
Organic Hemp Social Cooperative
Psachna, Evia, Greece