Where Hemp Fiber Could Find a Fit in 2021
Excitement is brewing around hemp’s potential as a substitute for various products. As the 2021 planting season draws nearer, COVID-19’s economic impacts are showing varied, complex implications not only on the hemp market, but also on other markets where hemp can be competitive.
Concern over the brevity of any pandemic-related financial support has producers and buyers looking for new market opportunities to keep their businesses afloat. But this begs the question: Which of the widely reported potential 25,000 uses of hemp are cost-competitive with their substitutes?
The industry has long used hemp’s substitution potential in numerous markets as a talking point, but the pandemic may finally allow hemp to gain more of a share in these markets. COVID-19 has strained relationships between buyers and sellers of traditional feedstocks, potentially opening the door for hemp to take their place. This year will be an important one to determine if “true hemp”—meaning the bales of hemp stalks rich in bast fibers, as defined by PanXchange—will play an increasingly important role in the U.S. and, in turn, the global hemp market.