P.R. seeks to become ‘hemp capital of the Americas’
On April 2, the island’s blossoming hemp industry will gather to participate in an ambitious agenda of conferences on economic opportunities and prospects for the cultivation and commercialization of the plant and its derivatives in Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland.
The “Puerto Rico HempBiz,” to
be held at the Hyatt Grand Reserve in Río Grande, seeks to serve as a platform
for the official launch of the hemp industry in Puerto Rico “and position the
island as the center of the industry for the entire hemisphere,” organizers
The Agriculture Department and
its Hemp Licensing and Inspection Office will unveil there for the first time,
the proposed regulatory framework to regulate the industry in line with the
provisions of the Farm Bill approved by U.S. Congress in 2018.
“We’ve designed a robust
educational program to help participants compete on a global stage. Attendees
will understand why Puerto Rico is an ideal place for the cultivation and
processing of industrial hemp,” said Noemí Pérez, president of P.R. HempBiz.
With a projected attendance of
hundreds of industry members from Puerto Rico and abroad, P.R. HempBiz is open
to investors, entrepreneurs, farmers and other professionals interested in learning
about the opportunities offered by the industry.
According to Pérez, the new
incentive law passed last year by the local government stimulates the
establishment of operations for the cultivation, processing and manufacturing
of hemp products, which presents attractive opportunities for investors.
“The fact that hemp is a
highly exportable product makes this plant a business opportunity with large-scale
potential,” she added.
Puerto Rico HempBiz will have
the participation of speakers David M. Klein, CEO of BlueGrass Hemp &
Health; Ricardo Álvarez, agricultural influencer and director of the Florida
Department of Agriculture’s southern region; Irving Rodríguez, agronomist from
the Puerto Rico Licensing and Hemp Inspection Office; Todd Denkin, past CEO of
Topics to be discussed include
cultivation and agriculture techniques, manufacturing of derivative products,
market development, regulatory framework and public policy, among others. Each
topic will be presented with an approach to facilitate its rapid and
sustainable implementation, organizers said.
Grand View Research has
estimated the global hemp industrial market at $4.7 billion in 2019. The firm
projects an annual growth rate of more than 15% through 2028. Sales of
hemp-derived CBD in the United States are expected to increase from
approximately $1.2 billion in 2019 to $10.3 billion by 2024, representing an
annual growth rate of 54%.
Pérez invited entrepreneurs heading
startups related to the hemp industry to participate in a Shark Tank-style
event that will be part of the P.R. HempBiz agenda.
Entrepreneurs will have the
opportunity to present their innovation projects to a panel of experienced
investors who will meet at the event to select a winning team. The call for
proposals for this opportunity to connect with potential investors is now open.