Because of its relation to marijuana, few countries have legalized industrial hemp cultivation. No South American country has grown hemp, but that might change now that Uruguay has authorized experimental hemp cultivation.
Uruguay’s National Institute for Farming Technology will grow the test crop at a secret location in October. The country’s officials want to know how hemp varieties respond to Uruguay’s soil and the crop’s productive capacities. If the trial run is successful, the Uruguayan government might grant special growing permits to producers, which would make the country the first in South America to authorize hemp cultivation.
Hemp, a fast-growing, versatile crop that requires few to no herbicides to produce, is a superlative fiber for home textiles. If the trial is successful and leads to further hemp cultivation, it could mean a significant environmental change for Uruguay’s agriculture. Uruguay, along with Argentina, is a major producer of soy, which requires lots of fertilizers and herbicides to grow.
Although several U.S. states have passed pro-hemp legislation, it is still illegal to grow hemp here.