Cultivation of technical hemp in Russia

Sowing hemp (Cannabis sativa) is an annual plant that grows in Russia in the middle lane up to two meters in height. Some varieties of cannabis (for example, Chinese cannabis) can be up to five meters. The homeland of this plant is Central and Northeast Asia, from where hemp spread to the west. It is unpretentious, and, unlike cereals, can grow almost everywhere, since it is not demanding on the sun, soil and water.

Hemp seeds can be eaten in the form of oil, flour and porridge, and from the tall stems hemp is obtained - a very strong spinning fiber. It is because of him that hemp has become a strategically important commodity for the maritime states. Hemp is the strongest of natural fibers, it does not deteriorate or damage under the influence of salty sea water, therefore, ropes and ropes for ships were made from hemp.

Mankind has been engaged in the production of hemp fibers for a long time. Clothing made of posconi (hemp canvas) was worn by the Chinese poor, while hemp was used to make paper in the Chinese Empire. From Asia, hemp migrated to the west, where hemp ropes were made in Antiquity.


On the territory of Russia (modern Russia), hemp was grown already in the 9th century. Cultivated hemp, or sowing, was grown to obtain fiber from which fabrics were made. From the fiber of the mother (female plant), harvested for seeds, they made sea ropes, ropes, canvas. The emergence of the hemp trade dates back to this time. At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, hemp took first place in the export of the Russian Empire. After that came flax and iron. The main buyer was England (modern Great Britain), followed by the USA. In the first half of the 19th century, hemp and flax accounted for a third of all Russian exports. In 1811, more than 200 American ships entered the ports of St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk, which took out a record amount of hemp. Hemp was of strategic importance until the end of the era of the sailing fleet, that is, until the middle of the 19th century. The Crimean War (1853-1856) - the last war of the Russian sailing fleet - showed the need to replace wooden sailing ships with steam battleships. The first such vessel was launched at London shipyards in 1859. By the beginning of the 20th century, the share of hemp and flax in the exports of the Russian Empire declined, giving way to bread. Then the peasants of the central provinces were engaged in the processing of hemp: Oryol, Kaluga, Kursk, Chernigov, Mogilev. The annual production reached about 9 million poods (over 144 million tons), which accounted for about 40% of the total production in Europe. Half was sent abroad to the Russian Empire, and the rest was processed in Russia, under hemp there were more than 750,000 acres of land, in modern terms 825,000 hectares (more than 2 million acres).

The secret of the quality of Russian hemp was in the peculiarities of its primary processing. First you need to remove the resin that connects the fibers. For this, the Russians dried them in sheaves, washed them with water, soaked them for a long time - up to several years, then dried and combed them. The Americans simplified this process to simple airing, which caused the resin to go away, but the quality of the finished fibers was low, it was possible to make bags and simple ropes from them, but not ship ropes. Russian hemp went on sale only two years after the stems were cut. Such production could not be mechanized; it required not only physical strength, but knowledge, experience, patience, and involvement. It was easier and more profitable for American producers to make simple ropes from hemp, which were used to tie cotton sacks, since the demand for cotton was high.

During the years of Soviet power (USSR), cannabis breeding was not only restored, but also widely advanced to new regions, including Siberia. In 1928, Russia ranked first in the world in terms of hemp sowing area - 966,000 hectares or 2.4 million acres.

Beginning in 1931, extensive systematic work on cannabis breeding was launched in the USSR.

In the USSR, the main hemp-growing regions were the central black earth regions of the RSFSR, forest-steppe and southern Ukraine, Belarus, the Volga region, the North Caucasus and Western Siberia. Mainly cultivated varieties were: Yuzhnaya No.-6, Yuzhnyaya Cherkasskaya, Krasnodarskaya No.-35 and other varieties.

Already after the 70s, hemp crops in the USSR did not exceed 400 thousand hectares, which is about 1 million acres. Fiber harvest reached 11-12 centners per hectare.

In 1987, by the decision of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the cultivation of cannabis in the country was prohibited. On June 12, 1987, the Council of Ministers of the USSR adopted a resolution No. 695 "On the prohibition of the sowing and cultivation of oil poppy by citizens."

In Russia, industrial (technical) hemp can be grown legally since 2007. On July 20, 2007, a Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation was issued, which determined and allowed for cultivation drug-free hemp varieties included in the State Register of Breeding Achievements.

The varieties of such hemp are characterized by a low content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - no more than 0.1%. Its constituents are used for fiber and food in the form of seeds and oil, and for the production of fibers for nonwovens, ropes, ropes (hemp) and textiles. In English, the term hemp, or industrial hemp, is used to refer to industrially grown hemp.

Work on the creation of non-narcotic cannabis varieties began in the USSR in 1973. In the State Register of Breeding Achievements in the late 1990s - early 2000s, new varieties of southern cannabis such as Slavyanka, Pava, Zenitsa, Kubanskaya early were entered, in which the content of the main narcotic substance was reduced to 0.1%.

How to start hemp production in Russia and get a license to grow it:

You will need to register a legal entity - this is needed by the licensing authority. The difficulty lies in the fact that the cultivation of cannabis is still difficult to classify by codes (OKVED), entrepreneurial activity. If we consider it as an annual plant that serves as a source of oil, then approach (OKPD 2) 01.1 Annual crops or (OKPD 2) 01.11.9 Seeds of flax, mustard, rapeseed, rape, sesame, sunflower and other oilseeds not included in other groups. However, the latter encoding includes only seeds, and not only seeds are valuable in hemp. After registration is completed, you can apply to the Federal Service for Supervision of Health and Social Development for a license to grow plants containing narcotic substances. In order for the licensing authority to consider the application, a large number of documents will be required.

List of permits required for the cultivation of hemp:

  • I. Notarized copies of constituent documents of a legal entity;
  • II. A document confirming the payment of the state fee for granting a license;
  • III. Inventory of the attached documents;
  • IV. Copies of documents confirming that the applicant has a license on the right of ownership or on another legal basis that meets the established requirements and is necessary for the implementation of activities for the cultivation of drugs containing plants, equipment, premises and land, the rights to which are not registered in the Unified State Register of Rights to Real Estate and transactions with it (if such rights are registered in the specified register - information about these premises and land plots);
  • V. A copy of the specialist certificate confirming the appropriate professional training of the head of the legal entity or the head of the relevant division of the legal entity in the cultivation of drugs containing plants;
  • Vi. Copies of certificates issued by state or municipal health care institutions in accordance with the procedure established by the legislation of the Russian Federation, on the absence of workers who, in accordance with their official duties, must have access to cultivated drugs containing plants, drug addiction diseases, substance abuse, chronic alcoholism;
  • Vii. Information on the availability of the conclusions of the body for control over the circulation of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, provided for by paragraphs three and five of paragraph 3 of Article 10 and paragraph three of paragraph 7 of Article 30 of the Federal Law "On Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances".

Difficulties may arise in obtaining a certificate confirming the professional suitability of a manager, because for several decades, during which hemp cultivation has not been carried out, there are no specialists left who are ready to train and issue the appropriate permits, and this issue will hardly be resolved in the shortest possible time. Also, the future sowing area needs to be fenced off and provide it with sufficient protection, just in an open field, to which anyone has access, it will not work to grow hemp.

YOU CAN CONTACT OUR COMPANY "GEOBURO" LLC and we will help you in obtaining such a license.

Sowing agronomy for technical hemp:

Hemp begins to grow in early spring, this plant loves to germinate in cold soil, followed by warming it up. The longest ripening period is 120 days, that is, hemp sown at the beginning of March will already yield a harvest at the end of summer. This plant does not tolerate winter, so it is harvested once a year, but in its place you can plant winter crops, which are harvested in spring. They are cereals - wheat, rye, triticale; they can also be the predecessors of hemp. Therefore, as in the cultivation of other plants, it is better to combine hemp with the cultivation of other crops, from year to year, changing its location. On average, one hectare requires about 70-100 kilograms of seeds, while the cost of one kilogram is about 0.70-0.90 US dollars.

Significant funds may have to be allocated for fertilizers, since a good harvest cannot be obtained on poor land. But you don't need to spend a lot on pesticides, since hemp has few natural pests. But collecting cannabis by hand will not work, the process of collecting it is a whole technology, moreover, requiring the purchase of specialized equipment. For this you will need:

  • Konoplezhatka.
  • Hemp thresher.
  • Tractor.
  • Harvester-binder.
  • Hemp harvester.

All this equipment, except for the universal tractor, can be bought both from foreign models and the Russian combine of the Rostselmash company. Video of the work of the harvester The price of such a harvester is about 150,000 US dollars, this is three times cheaper than similar foreign harvesters, which start at 450,000 dollars and end at the price of 700,000 dollars. There are more expensive harvesters that can harvest seeds and stems at the same time, dividing them into different fractions, such a harvester will cost more than $ 1.3 million, they are not produced in Russia, it will have to be brought from the European Union.

If we take into account the "Surskaya" variety, then the yield is 8.5 centners per hectare of stalk, and if sowing occurs only to obtain seeds, then it is possible to get 0.8 tons per hectare. Thus, 8.6 tons of fibrous hemp is harvested from 10 hectares, which goes to many industries. And even if we consider only the sale of seeds, the total amount of which will be 800 kilograms, then for them, provided that the cost of 1 kilogram is $ 0.80, you can get $ 650, this is only and exclusively for seeds.

The variety was bred by the Penza Research Institute of Agriculture. Included in the State Register for the Russian Federation for all zones of cultivation. Type and form - monoecious Central Russian. Stem 247 cm high, 7 mm in diameter, with 9 internodes, green. The leaf and petiole are green. The flower is greenish yellow. The fruit is light gray. Seeds are round, light gray, with a mild and inconspicuous pattern. The mass of 1000 seeds is 17.9 g. The yield of the stems is 85.6 c / ha. Fiber content 29.5%, breaking load 27.2 kgf, linear density 23.7 tex. The seed yield is 8.4 c / ha. The growing season to technical ripeness is 97 days, to seed ripeness 115 days. Resistance to lodging 5 points, to shedding - 4 points. The variety is suitable for mechanized harvesting. Weakly struck by gray rot.

It is necessary to make more accurate corrective data for the regions where it is better to grow hemp for oil, and where for fiber. If we take the regions where there is high humidity, but little sun, and these are Smolensk, Tverskaya, Pskov, Novgorod, Yaroslavl, Kirovskaya, Ivanovskaya, Kostroma and Vologda regions, it is possible to get only 200-350 kilograms of hemp seeds, but the fiber yield increases by 15- twenty%. If we take the middle lane, to which we attribute the Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod, Ryazan, Tula, Kaluga and Bryansk regions, the Republic of Mordovia and Tatarstan, then we can get 400-700 kilograms of seeds, but the length of the stem and the quality of the fiber will deteriorate slightly. The best places for obtaining seeds will be such regions - Oryol, Lipetsk, Tambov, Kursk, Belgorod, Voronezh, Penza, Ulyanovsk, Saratov, Samara, Orenburg regions here you can get yields from 750 to 950 kilograms per hectare. Well, the best regions where you can get from one to one and a half tons per hectare are Rostov and Astrakhan regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, the Republic of Adygea and the Crimea.

Calculation of the cost of industrial hemp products (cost for May 2021 Russia per ton of product):

  • Industrial hemp seeds - $ 750-950 per ton
  • Industrial hemp oil - 3500-5000 dollars per ton
  • Campfire of technical hemp - $ 100 per ton
  • Industrial hemp cake - $ 150 per ton
  • Industrial hemp fiber - $ 250 per ton
  • + The planting subsidy is $ 135 per hectare.

Prospects for the development of cannabis growing in Russia:

On the world market, the price of hemp is twice as high as that of plain cotton. And the demand for hemp fabrics is growing by 30% annually. The relaxation of legislation in recent years has allowed Russian farmers to finally begin work on increasing the area of industrial hemp, currently up to 20,000 hectares, but 12,000 hectares of which are used for fiber production and 8,000 hectares are planted with industrial hemp for the production of hemp oil. Last year, industrial hemp was officially grown in six regions of Russia: the Republic of Adygea and the Republic of Mordovia, as well as in the Oryol, Kursk, Nizhny Novgorod and Penza regions. There are no data for 2021 yet, but they will clearly be noticeably higher than last year, because there are new plantings in the Rostov region, in the Krasnodar Territory and in a number of other regions that were not affected by official statistics.

Industrial hemp has very good development prospects in Russia, I am sure director of the Institute of Agrobiotechnology of the Russian State Agrarian University - Moscow Agricultural Academy named after Professor K. A. Timiryazev, head of the Roslenkonoplya project Sergey Belopukhov. “We have a lot of suitable land, and worldwide demand for hemp is increasing,” he notes. This growth is due to the expansion of the use of various components of hemp. It is considered among the best substitutes for cotton and synthetic materials, not only in the textile industry, but also in the automotive, aviation and shipbuilding industries, in the medical, aerospace, defense, pulp and paper, construction industries and in the production of sports products.

Hemp has other benefits as well. The plant actively absorbs greenhouse gas, the production of building materials and biopolymers based on hemp is also associated with the absorption of carbon dioxide. Therefore, it is referred to as carbon negative, that is, crops that reduce the level of CO2. In addition, to grow hemp, you need 2-3 times less water than the same cotton, moreover, to process hemp, you do not need so many pesticides and herbicides, which also greatly affect the ecology of the planet.

According to the expert opinion of our specialists of the GEOBURO company, Russia is at the beginning of the development of cannabis growing, the limiting factor is the lack of the required amount of hemp-harvesting equipment, the absence of hemp factories, factories for the production of oil and other products from technical hemp. For the construction of a plant for the production of foam and deep processing of industrial hemp, it is necessary to have a constant volume of produced industrial hemp of at least 4000 hectares, and preferably 6000 hectares within a radius of 90-110 kilometers from the plant. If this result is achieved, then it will be necessary to build about 40 regional clusters, then Russia will be able to cultivate industrial hemp on 200,000 hectares. According to our expert estimates, the creation of such a cluster with a plant + 5000 hectares + agricultural machinery can cost $ 40 million, which means the entire project is more than $ 1.6 billion.

State support program:

In 2018, for the first time, per hectare subsidies for the cultivation of technical hemp, incentives for investment loans taken for the purchase of equipment were approved at the federal level. Now domestic cannabis growers are provided with a number of preferences, including preferential short-term and investment loans, unrelated support at a rate of 10 thousand rubles / ha (USD 135), hemp sown area, support within the framework of a single subsidy, leasing of agricultural machinery, reimbursement up to 50% of direct costs incurred for the construction and modernization of hemp processing plants, as well as the purchase of specialized machinery and equipment.

Today in Russia only a few large companies produce hemp products: from the city of Novosibirsk "Health Complex" - cereals and flour, Penza "Konoplex" - fiber and seeds, Nizhny Novgorod "Konoplem" - various food products. Hemp oil is produced by Ross, a Siberian company, and other processors. In the Russian agricultural holding "National" plans to increase the sown area of hemp by 5 times - up to 5 thousand hectares! A very large producer and processor of hemp is the Mordovian Penkozavody company, the oldest enterprise in Russia, which has been operating since the times of the USSR.

Now in Russia the following hemp products are made and sold:

  • roasted hemp seeds;
  • hemp fiber (a source of dietary fiber, analogue of pressed bran);
  • natural protein from hemp seeds;
  • hemp base for smoothies (increases the nutritional value and vitamin and mineral composition of the drink);
  • hemp sprouts (analogous to wheat sprouts, soybeans, etc.);
  • hemp seed kernels as an additive in salads (instead of nuts or, for example, flax or chia seeds);
  • urbech (natural hemp seed paste);
  • various pasta, pasta, baked goods and so on.

The following products and goods are produced on the basis of hemp in other countries:

  • ropes, ropes, twine, threads, yarn, fabric;
  • sails and ship gear;
  • paper, including cigarette and carbon paper, paper for banknotes and that used to make tea bags;
  • clothes: from underwear to windbreakers and sneakers;
  • "Auto insides" (one BMW car takes 5 kg of hemp fiber);
  • Building materials such as campfire bricks (hemp wood base);
  • fuel from the fire;
  • litters for pets and livestock, cat litter;
  • insulating materials;
  • feed for birds - from seeds - and for livestock - from cake;
  • oil - for food and as a basis for drying oils, varnishes, paints;
  • cosmetics: soaps and creams with hemp extract;
  • mats;
  • wicks for candles;
  • technical textiles: drive belts, fire hoses, parachute slings, harness, nets, bowstrings;
  • foodstuffs, from seed porridge (similar to oatmeal) to chips, cookies, candy and ice cream (Hemp Ice Cream with hemp oil and shelled hemp seeds is made in England);
  • drinks: Czech Cannabis vodka, Swiss Canna Williams whiskey, German Cannabia beer and CannaCola and CannaLime sodas;
  • medicines.

Land prices in cannabis growing regions range from US $ 250 to US $ 700 per hectare.

Once again, it is accurate and I will REPEAT: in the Russian Federation it is forbidden to grow non-industrial hemp, such as "Cannabis" for smoking, where the narcotic alkaloids of tetrahydrocannabinol are present in excess of 0.1%.

The publication was prepared on November 15, 2021 by Andrey Kichaev, General Director of «GEOBURO» LLC.