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Sunday, November 04, 2001, updated at 16:28(GMT+8)
Business  

Chinese Hemp Industry has Boundless Potential

As world fashion increasingly moves toward simplicity, comfort and health protection, experts point out that hemp, a major economic crop in China, could have great market prospects after the nation's entry into the World Trade Organization.

Xia Jingyuan, a senior official with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture in charge of the extension of agricultural technology, said that the annual output of Chinese linen is worth over 10 billion yuan (about 1.2 billion US dollars).

According to Xia, the ongoing upgrading of China's agricultural industry has given Chinese hemp a great opportunity.

Environmentally friendly, high value-added and versatile, Chinese hemp products could be a major money-maker in market both here and abroad, said Xia.

For example, ramie, once used as forage, could provide a new type of vegetable protein for livestock and boost stockbreeding of southern China.

Red hemp used in paper making could prevent the felling of forests while clothing made from hemp is particularly comfortable to wear and poses no health hazard.

Being one of the earliest fabrics used in China, hemp's heyday can date back 4,000 years when only nobles and royal families could afford to wear finely spun linen while coarse linen were favored by commoners.

The production technology of linen has undergone constant improvement. In 1984, the country made a breakthrough in the degumming technology, bringing worldwide attention to linen products.

Analysts say that to establish a modern linen manufacturing and processing system with Chinese characteristics, China should double its efforts in scientific research and international cooperation, because each breakthrough in relevant technology will greatly boost the sector's upgrading.









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