The Mediterranean agriculture is experiencing issues due to climate change, which calls for the development of substitute, drought-tolerant crops and hemp can be one.
Why can hemp be a good alternative?
Among the variety of options, hemp seems to be a simple crop with little requirements and great tolerance to various environmental factors. Its adaptability is shown in the variety of potential applications it provides, such as seed production, the extraction of fibre, essential oils, and secondary metabolite production, such as cannabinoids. Hemp is one of the most promising options for improving the efficiency and profitability of agricultural systems. Thus, hemp can be useful also in the Mediterranean region.
However, discovering its full potential demands addressing several questions. Farmers have to consider best agronomic practices and understand the complexity of the hemp production chain.
Crop management strategies for hemp
First, farmers must decide what is the goal of hemp cultivation. Thus, if they want to start growing hemp for seed production, they should consider few factor. Firstly, they should use certified seeds, choose the right planting density, and maximise fertiliser levels. To guarantee optimal seed production, they should also use specific, efficient weed and apply good pest management techniques.
When it comes to fibre extraction, however, crop rotation becomes crucial. To produce high-quality fibres, it is essential to select the appropriate rotation crops and find the ideal time for harvest. Eventually, farmers may profit from the fibre market and support resilient agricultural systems.
Furthermore, hemp has the ability to produce secondary metabolites, in particular cannabinoids. To achieve the correct chemical composition, farmers should also grow specific hemp cultivars. They should also look at appropriate, but careful changes to cultivation techniques. The pharmaceutical and wellness businesses will benefit greatly from this feature. However, this method also requires an in-depth understanding of the biology and chemical composition of the plant.
These suggested crop management techniques have as their main goal the creation of profitable but sustainable agricultural systems. Farmers may maximise the potential of hemp in semi-arid Mediterranean regions. However, they should adjust growing techniques to the use of the crop. Despite this, there are still difficulties, particularly in identifying the best agronomic methods. To realise hemp’s full potential, we have to improve growing techniques, and increase the overall profitability of hemp production, more research and innovation.
In conclusion, hemp is an adaptive crop that has great potential to change agriculture in semiarid regions of Mediterranean nations. It is a valuable asset in the face of climate change. Hemp has little requirements, is adaptable, and has wide range of applications. Farmers can increase profitability and contribute to environmental sustainability by implementing crop management techniques that are appropriate for specific end uses. Continued research effort will have a key role in improving our understanding and optimising cultivation practices, ultimately releasing the full potential of hemp in sustainable agriculture.