I wish to raise the lack of policy around growing our previously vibrant flax and hemp industry. Since 2016, I have been promoting both these crops as part of the bioeconomy and as a rotational crop in all farming systems. This has been to no avail, even though the industry is steaming ahead across the globe.

I have been on the European Commission’s civil dialogue group for hemp, flax and cotton, and I have presented to the Agricultural Committee of the European Parliament and to the European Commission twice. Everyone can see the potential, except our own Government. The agricultural community needs hemp and flax and the community is ready to embrace it. The next step would be for Government to support research and innovation with funding. Hemp Co-operative Ireland has been turned down twice for funding for research and these are good projects which would boost the cultivation of these high-value crops.

Funding projects in this space would be money well spent, in my opinion.