More than 100 people went to the All About Hemp info session in Marton on July 30 - and they were keen to co-operate and grow the industry, Gioia Damosso says.
She and Whanganui and Partners organised the session, and it was hosted at Te Poho o Tuariki, the Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa base in Henderson's Line. Attendees were from Tararua, Palmerston North and Horowhenua as well as Whanganui and Rangitīkei.
They heard how to grow and harvest hemp, and were also helped to navigate the complex legislation and regulation relating to the crop.
The aim is to make this area a North Island centre for the industry. It will be competing with Gisborne and Canterbury, where hemp is also popular.
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The growers could benefit by sharing harvesting and drying gear, Damosso said.
"It's really through working together that we are going to carve a name for ourselves in the region and New Zealand and also internationally."
Whanganui/Wellington operation Hemp Connect is already processing hemp seed for growers in the Bay of Plenty, at its facility in the Tupoho Community Complex in Whanganui.
It is looking to eventually process seed from 1000 local hectares, partner Werner Schulze told the Chronicle in May. It's offering seed and information to growers and has a drier and processing equipment.
People are already asking Damosso when the next information session will be.
"There's definitely going to be more stuff happening," she said.
The name hemp refers to Cannabis sativa varieties with very low levels of THC, the psychoactive substance in the drug marijuana. Hemp seed is high in oil and vitamins, and last November a law change made human consumption of it legal in New Zealand.