Letter: High time for diversification

Nathan Surendran is to be praised for his proposal to cultivate hemp in Southland. Is this the bright idea that Southland needs to further cement its reputation for being a major contributor to our country's economy?

Southland farmers need to consider diversifying if this is possible as it gives the region more options for survival economically, apart from dairy farming. Also, hemp cultivation, we are told, would make good use of land unsuitable for grazing.

Hemp is a valuable versatile product and not the bogey Federated Farmers appears to believe it to be as a variety of cannabis. The Ministry of Health obviously recognises hemp's non-drug uses as it is already possible to obtain a licence from them to grow it.

There is a demand for natural rather than synthetic products and countries that supply them stand to do well as traders. Last year, for example, I purchased an imported duvet created from corn. It is wonderfully warm and breathable.

In Manly, Australia, there is a specialist shop that sells hemp clothing.

My husband purchased shirts there years ago and since then he has been back for more at every opportunity. He finds these shirts amazingly comfortable in winter and summer. Alan Baird of Federated Farmers is welcome to come and try one on if he wishes.


The Southland Times