While the national, provincial, and municipal governments’ agendas seem to be dedicated almost exclusively to discussing the quarantine phases, things happened this week that invite us to think that the bioeconomy will be essential for a viable country.
The enactment of Law 26,093, in force until May 2021, led to the creation of more than 35 biodiesel plants and 3 glycerine refining plants, which led the country to become the main world exporter of these two products. Biodiesel found a new destination for soybean oil, whose foreign market is almost saturated, consolidating the crushing industry’s expansion, whose most popular product is soybean meal. In the period, exports of food rich in protein grew 25%. Regarding bioethanol, most of the 13 sugarcane distilleries operating today were made new, while 6 new large-scale corn ethanol plants and 5 small-scale plants were also built in livestock establishments. Investments are estimated to have exceeded the US $ 2.
Cannabis refers to both hemp and marijuana. The entire hemp plant – including its stems, seeds, and flowers – is harvested to produce oil, food, paper, textiles, fiber, and topical ointments. Its origin dates back to thousands of years before Christ and comes from the Asian continent. Legend has it that Buddha survived by eating only hemp seeds and that the first books written by man were on paper made from cellulose pulp obtained from hemp. Gutenberg even printed the first Bible on hemp paper.
Hemp is naturally more abundant in cannabidiol (CBD) than Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compared to marijuana. For a cannabis plant to be classified as hemp in many countries, it must contain up to 0.3% THC, which is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana.
Several scientists adhere to the idea that cannabinoids show positive responses to neurological diseases such as epilepsy, neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer, Parkinson, Multiple Sclerosis, autism), digestive diseases such as anorexia, inflammation of the intestines, diseases skin, mental health disorders, pain.
But restrictions on growing cannabis make research extremely difficult to find the right CBD-THC ratios for each treatment. Furthermore, hemp is being studied in infinite industrial applications that require a low environmental footprint. The high strength of hemp fiber makes it ideal for the construction and textile sectors, two industries in the focus of environmentalists for their high contributions to climate change. It also finds applications in food, beer, and even cosmetics. It is no coincidence that New Holland is working with the US National Hemp Association on mechanized harvesting solutions for hemp. A huge expansion of this crop is expected in the coming decades.