b'CANNABIS CHRONICLESMOBILE HEMP DECORTICATION IS A THING NOWWith a new market in the United States, an Alberta-based hemp fibre manufacturer has usheredin an era of hemp fibre processing technology.Marc ZienkiewiczA LONG-TIME HEMPprocessing chal-lenge in Canada is being solved by an Alberta-based company that man-ufactures building materials made from industrial hemp, with benefits for customers in the United States.Natural Fibre Technologies (NFT), based in Edmonton, Alta., has launched several mobile decortica-tors, helping to make hemp decortica-tion easier and more economical.The decorticators are leased to hemp growers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, who use them to separate the hemp hurd from fibre to make building materials like blocks, mats and boards manu-factured by NFT.of the business. This resulted in the A lack of hemp decorticationfabrication of a mobile decorticator. plants in Canada has resulted in aIf you have a central operation, major supply chain gap, says NFTyou really need to get all your mate-founder Tamrat Tekle. He says therial within a 75- to 100-kilometre mobile decorticators are beginning toradius, because the economics of change that. delivery are very costly, Tekle says.Weve had to hold off on scal- The mobile decorticators can pro-ing up our value-add businesscess up to two tonnes of hemp stalksHemp is increasingly being used to create because there had been nowhere toper hour, meaning NFT can capitalizefibre panels, fibre-reinforced cement, structural get the material we need to makeon the burgeoning market for hempinsulated panels, engineered fibre mats and our products, he says. We have toproducts. The recent passage of thefibre-plastic composites.establish that supply chain. MakingUnited States Farm Bill means hemp the decortication process mobile is ais now legal in the United States, and game-changer. markets are opening up down south.Between 2016 and 2019, NFT wasTekle adds that as the market involved in buildinga commercialtakes off, ripple effects could occur decortication plant Nisku, Alta. inthroughout the ag industry, includ-partnership with another company.ing on the hemp breeding side. Right Concurrently, the management wasnow, NFT does not have any pre-engaged in a strategic review on theferred varieties, but he expects that to viability of decentralized primarychange with growth and the advent breakdown (decortication) businessof hemp bred for stronger fibre model in line with the future growthstrength and better usability. 8GERMINATION.CAJANUARY 2022'