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Hemp Farming in Uttarakhand: How to obtain Licence?

FSSAI has recently recognized Hemp seed and its products as food or food ingredients. Read this article to learn about the processes to acquire a license in Uttarakhand and shortlisted districts for hemp cultivation.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) emerged as a big help to hemp manufacturers when, in November 2021, it issued a notification that recognizes hemp seeds and hemp seed products as ‘food’ and provided standards for the same. The notification released by FSSAI in lieu of this allows for sale of products derived from 'non-viable seeds of the cannabis sativa/other indigenous cannabis species'.  The cultivation has to, as usual, comply with the Government of India’s Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) licensing system and state laws.

Uttarakhand: Only Indian state to legalize Hemp farming

In July 2018, Uttarakhand became the first Indian state to legalize hemp farming. Naturally, it is now the largest hemp producing state in India. The FSSAI’s recent notification is a boost to the initiative that has been taken by the Uttarakhand Government to reframe its industrial hemp policy and issue India’s first-ever hemp cultivation license.

The Government of Uttarakhand supports a number of Self Help Groups and farmer groups under a Purchasing Power Parity model which aims to advance the size and scope of the Hemp industry.

Uses of Hemp

  • Hemp is one of the strongest natural fibres in the world, known to have over 50,000 different uses.
  • It is estimated that annual revenues from hemp textiles in Uttarakhand will equal INR 240 crore in the near future, while a farmer who grows hemp is expected to earn approx. INR 1 lakh annually from its sale.
  • Hemp can be used in the production of textiles (clothes, diapers, shoes, handbags, fine fabrics, etc.) and commercial textiles (netting, carpeting, canvas, rope, etc.).
  • It can be used in the production of paper (packaging, cardboard, printing, etc.), and building materials (fiberglass substitute, acrylics, oil paints, printing inks, varnishes, etc.).
  • It can be used in body care products (shampoos, cosmetics, lotions, balms, soaps)
  • It can be used as food products or ingredient in food.
  • Hemp seed, hemp seed oil and hemp seed flour have medicinal value and are used in products to boost heart health, good skin, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and ensure a healthy pregnancy. Hemp has also yielded positive results in the treatment of cancer.

Process of Acquiring Hemp License in Uttarakhand

The following documents are required to apply for a hemp license:

  1. Firstly, one must be the owner of their own land. The application form has to be submitted with a land ownership proof.
  2. A ‘good character certificate’ of the owner is a necessary document.
  3. The application has to be submitted to the District Magistrate.
  4. A clear indication of where the hemp cultivation is to begin must be mentioned by describing the land and depicting its geographical coordinates.
  5. If any contract has been signed with a commercial unit then proof of such contract has to be submitted.
  6. Proof, via documentation, has to be shown about the storage facility for such produce as may be cultivated.
  7. An assurance certificate has to be furnished to show that no other license has been granted or applied for.
  8. The final decision lies with the District Magistrate regarding the approval or disapproval of the application.
  9. The cultivated hemp can only be sold to authorized buyers by the Government of Uttarakhand.

Eligibility criteria for application

  • There must be no bailable or criminal case pending in any court of law.
  • Land must be self-owned.
  • If any commercial or medical institute owns the land, they can apply.

List of forms required for Industrial Hemp cultivation in Uttarakhand

Form Description
IHC – A1 Form to be submitted for applying for the license
IHC – A2 Form to be submitted for assurance of mass storage and use
IHC – 1 Format of the license to be issued to those famers dealing in industrial hemp
IHC – 2 Format of license issued to farmer for storing, use and sale of industrial hemp
IHC – 3 For industrial units only, format of license for storage and use of industrial hemp
IHC – 4 Applicable only to industrial units, license for transportation of industrial hemp

Shortlisted districts in Uttarakhand for Hemp cultivation

Some of the best conditions to produce Hemp have been found to be in Uttarakhand. Hence, it is no surprise that it became the first state to legalize the production of hemp in India.

Following is a short list of districts in Uttarakhand considered best for hemp farming:

  • Chamoli: Best place to grow hemp. 800 m to 8k m above the sea level.
  • Nainital: Another most suitable place to grow hemp. In fact, if we look at history, the British had recognized the potential worth of Hemp and allowed its cultivation in Almora and Nainital and parts of Garhwal. As mentioned in the Himalayan Gazetteer, the tribal population used to make clothes called bhangela, sacks, ropes, and fish nets out of hemp. Hemp, apparently, was a major source of earning for the East India Company.
  • Pauri Garhwal: Temperature ranges from zero to 45 degrees centigrade. Indian Institute of Hemp Association (IIHA) has already used bilkhate (satpuli) for hemp cultivation and has also provided employment to the villagers in the hemp industry. 
  • Almora: Yet another district with most suitable climatic condition for hemp farming.
  • Tehri Garhwal: Temperature ranges from 0 to 40 degree centigrade. 
  • Pithoragarh: Temperature ranges from 0 to 45 degree centigrade. Good connectivity to the market as well.
  • Bageshwar: Temperature similar to Almora.
  • Champawat: Climate bit humid but suitable for hemp farming.
  • Uttarkashi: Temperature ranges from 2 to 41 degree centigrade. Perfect climate condition. 
  • Gairsain: Uttarakhand's latest capital for winters. Suitable climate for cultivation. 
  • Badrinath: Avoid due to snow fall and extreme cold in winters. Suitable in summers.
  • Joshimath: Suitable in summers.

Leading Hemp Startups based in Uttarakhand

During COVID 19 lockdown, the hemp business in India blossomed. There are now about 100 hemp start-ups in India. Here we cover the two leading startups in Uttarakhand.

Hemp Foundation was quick to realize the potential of Uttarakhand’s soil for hemp cultivation and is now known as a reliable wholesale supplier of high-quality organic hemp seed oil and are the bulk exporters of Himalayan hemp seeds within India. The state government has been in collaboration with this organization for exports of hemp fabrics, hemp oil and seeds to retailers in Europe, New Zealand, USA, and Canada. The company differentiates itself by focusing on empowering farmers in Uttarakhand to cultivate high-quality organic hemp, by offering them technical expertise and economic resources.

Another successful company based in the state is the Himalaya Hemp Company from Rishikesh. It is a sole proprietorship with an annual turnover of about INR 1-2 Crores. It is well-equipped with adequate manpower and machinery and is heavily engrossed in offering Hemp seeds and Hemp seed Oil.

We can assist you with legal procedures related to hemp cultivation in Uttarakhand. You can contact us by submitting a query below.


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