The hemp industry faces many challenges - one of them is the pricing.
Hemp yields 4 times more fibre per acre than cotton. Thus people perceive that hemp would be cheaper than cotton. However, the reality is much different.
Cottonised hemp starts at $4/kg of fibre and finer quality fibres range from $7-$10/kg, whereas the cost of cotton fibre is around the $2/kg mark.
There are majorly two reasons affecting the pricing of Hemp based fibres–
- The scale of production is significantly less as compared to cotton. Hemp represents less than 0.5% of total natural fibre produced against 92% of cotton.
- Hemp needs to be processed while cotton is already in the fibre form. This also reduces the actual fibre output per acre.
To add to that, the spinning and weaving of hemp is also more expensive when compared to cotton. This is because machines have to be altered and speeds have to be lowered to make consistent quality hemp textiles. The same is true for any specialty fashion materials such as linen, bamboo etc.
Thus, the current cost of hemp fibre is one of the primary reasons for a lower uptake of hemp.
The next obvious question is - Will the prices reduce with an increase in the scale of production?
The answer is YES. Although the prices will never become as low as cotton (hemp will most likely continue to remain in the range of premium fibres), there can be a considerable reduction in prices of hemp as the industry continues to expand.
You can do your part in making hemp affordable by switching to hemp based products in your daily life and make more conscious choices along the way!