In 2018, Uttarakhand became the first state in India to allow the commercial cultivation of the hemp crop, which is a rich source of high-quality fibre and a host of medicinal and nutritive products.
While countries like Germany and China have been quick to capitalise on the legal cannabis industry, India is slowly waking up to its benefits as many small businesses and startups are planning to industrialize it on a large scale.
Badal Bodh, who is the Regional Head of the Indian Industrial HEMP Association (IIHA) in Himachal Pradesh, has taken the task of revolutionising the mindset on Hemp in the country. He is also the director of Himalayan Hemp, a company that uses an eco-socio-capitalistic model with the help of farmers to preserve the hemp strain and supply fibres for commercial use.
He says, “I’ve been associated with Hemp for the last seven years and supplying fibres to IIHA because I’m the regional head for Himachal Pradesh. Hemp fibres is started in big brands like Levi’s in the USA …Levi’s from this year and other big brands like H&M and Zara and getting hemp fibre cloths. Also high brands like Giorgio Armani and Versace as they product special Hemp suits and clothing lines. So there is a huge demand for Hemp fibres and products. Initially, I faced hurdles from a mindset perspective as people weren’t so keen on associating with it. However, hemp does not produce enough THC to create intoxicating effects when consumed. So the mindset is slowly changing. We have been focusing on the commercial appeal of Hemp as it caters to the sentiments of the larger market as well as the agrarian community. Hemp is used in industries across textile, eco-construction materials, bio-fuels, health, and nutrition. So it’s an extremely beneficial crop.”
The former model, who has worked with many well-known brands, says he found Hemp crop as a lucrative business model. He is now looking forward to the legalization of Hemp cultivation in Himachal Pradesh.
“I took a break from modelling because I wanted to start my own business. Hemp is really a high-value crop and it is ideal for places where topology and acute water scarcity come in the way of growing conventional crops. Also, Hemp can be harvested in three months. It requires very little water and in places where water is abundant two crops can be grown. I am hopeful that the Himachal Pradesh government will legalize it by next year as we are planning to do it on a large scale. We have a B2B Business model ready for the state,” Badal adds.