Jersey Hemp is seeking to certify its seeds and distribute them to Island farmers with the company’s new science officer Alisia Ratliff saying that the initiative was part of their expansion strategy to partner with more local growers.
Ms Ratliff, who recently arrived in Jersey after working in the US industry, said that she had been tasked with helping grow the company’s operations, including developing its lab facilities based at Warwick Farm in St Helier.
Jersey Hemp, which was the first company in the British Isles to receive a licence to produce hemp derivative cannabidiol, recently announced it is looking to raise £6 million to fund its expansion plans, £1 million of which will come through crowd-funding.
Ms Ratliff said that the Island had a ‘rich agricultural history’ and that the company wanted to work with the industry to produce more biomass.
She said: ‘We have a few initiatives that we’re undertaking at the moment. It’s all about how we can use this crop in positive ways in several industries.
‘And we’re actually in the process of certifying our own seeds that we’re breeding so that we can provide those seeds to local farms if they would like to grow them.
‘We’re thinking about doing that in a co-operative sense, so not only are we providing them with a crop that they would like to grow, but we’re also going to be able to generate that biomass that we would then buy back to use for our end products.’
Ms Ratliff said that the seed certification would also enable them to grow cultivars with a higher CBD concentration, which would improve processing efficiency and boost yields. She added that Jersey Hemp is looking to stand out in the market place by continuing to control its supply chain from start to finish as it expands.
She said: ‘There’s a really great opportunity for local farmers here with that programme, but also a great opportunity for us to continue controlling our supply chain from the very beginning from seed and soil.
‘Not a lot of CBD companies do that and it is a huge differentiator of why Jersey hemp is so special and unique compared to everything else that’s on the market.
‘There’s so many people that just walk into a health food store or maybe a lunch spot and they see CBD oils and they’re interested and intrigued, but they don’t know where the materials are coming from that they’re creating that product with.
‘We’re able to be completely and fully transparent with where our materials come from because we’re controlling everything from the very beginning when it goes into the soil. I think that’s very special.’
Jersey Hemp currently produces CBD hemp oil, isolate and protein powder. Ms Ratliff said that the company was looking to expand its range and new products could even include hemp-based building materials.