We recently had the pleasure of flying the Australian hemp flag during a networking dinner with not one but three Malaysian Ministries (Plantation and Commodities, Timber, Tobacco & Kanaf Industries).
We had the absolute privilege of hosting them in our city and educating them on the Industrial Hemp industry here in Australia. We were able to show them all of the benefits that introducing Industrial Hemp to Malaysia could do, economically, environmentally and more!
There are still a lot of misconceptions surrounding the hemp industry globally, with many people not recognising the differences between industrial hemp and cannabis plants. Industrial hemp is a low-THC crop that is used for industrial purposes, such as milling its seed, using it for fabric and other purposes.
Malaysia's Hemp Laws are still stringent, and the country has a long way to go before hemp will be widespread and apparent throughout the country.
In comparison, their neighbouring country Thailand has become the first South-East Asian country to decriminalise cannabis, essentially turning Thailand into a top canna-tourism destination in the world and generating enormous profits for tourism for the country.
This became especially apparent when we gave a group of 10 Malaysian delegates a tour of our hemp store in Fremantle. Given the strictness of Malaysia's hemp laws, they were absolutely blown away by the diversity of our products and were pleasantly surprised to find a range of 'everyday products' like health foods, skincare, clothing and even bedding.
We are proud to offer an impressive range of hemp-based products here at Margaret River Hemp Co, and it seems our range impressed the Malaysian delegates, particularly the food products. We went through all the multi-benefits hemp-based food products have, such as the nutritional value and perfect ratio of fatty acids, such as Omega 3,6 and 9.
We even handed out some hemp treat goodie bags, which, unfortunately, they could not take home with them as any 'cannabis-based product in Malaysia is illegal, even punishable by death!
Introducing Hemp into Malaysia will be a significant change for the country and will probably take some time. However, thanks to the Kenaf industry already present in Malaysia, the country is set up structurally to start farming hemp. However, given the superiority of hemp as a fabric, it often scares the kenaf community.
Kenaf is a plant that comes from the same family as cotton and ocre. It is a warm-seasoned, annual crop that grows particularly well in Malaysia. These plants can grow relatively high, averaging about 8 to 14 feet in a season of 5 months, and grow ideally in Malaysia.
Kenaf is a big part of Malaysia, as the country naturally provides the perfect climate for it to grow. As such, infrastructure is readily available for farming Kenaf, and Malaysia exports much of this.
Kenaf is mainly used as a cordage crop, primarily for making ropes and twine, as well as for commercial uses such as absorbents, paper products, building materials and animal feed.
Given the already available infrastructure in place in Malaysia that is being used for Kenaf, instead of seeing the hemp community as a threat, the two can co-exist beside each other harmoniously and be used to complement each other.
Although Malaysia has a long way to go regarding hemp, the country certainly has a lot of potential and benefits it can reap from our favourite crop!