Pioneering the hemp industry in Korea

신태섭 기자l승인2019.04.18l수정2019.04.18 09:04






▲ President Yoon Jeong-hoon

Hemp, a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species, contains 460 kinds of nature materials including THC, the psychoactive chemical, and CBD, the natural medicine. According to a report of the World Health Organization, CBD is safe, has less risk of abusing, and is effective for 17 diseases including Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and cancer. The upper part and the leaves contain a great deal of THC. The effectiveness of hemp is being received positively by some advanced countries and South Korea also is allowing the processing and selling of hemp, except marihuana. However, the industry is still in its infancy. <Power Korea> met Yoon Jeong-hoon, the president of Green Rush Agricultural Cooperation located in Suncheon.

Hemp as promising future industry
Canada allowed hemp for industrial use in 2002 and the US in January 2019. While China, the largest producer of hemp in the world, is leading the industry, South Korea has only focused on restriction and punishment for over half a century. It was only recently that South Korea allowed the processing and selling of hemp for industrial use and Green Rush Agricultural Cooperation is taking the initiative. 

Green Rush is growing hemp on a 16,529m2 land in eco-friendly way. It makes the hemp into food and cosmetics through continuous R&D. The hemp seed and oil contains balanced omega 3 and 6 and unsaturated/saturated fatty acid as well as rich essential fatty acid and amino acid. For this reason, hemp seed-based food is widely received as healing food. 

From omega capsule and drinks to cosmetics
Green Rush Agricultural Cooperation is the sole company in Korea that has hemp seed processing facilities. ‘Jayeonchaeum’, the hemp seed brand of Green Rush, currently is being sold NH Hannaro Mart online as the only one hemp seed brand in Korea. ‘Omega Capsule’, which contains the oil, among the products is easy to consume while ‘The Slow’, the drink which contains active ingredients of hemp seed, helps the body relax and have a good sleep. As for the cosmetics, a number of product lines such as mask pack, serum and mist are soon to be released; hangover cures and ‘food shake’ are also under the procedure to be introduced afterwards.

Green Rush
There was a time that people rushed into the west of the United States of America to dig gold. As more and more people recognize the value of hemp and huge growth potential of the industry, some officials of the industry coined a word ‘Green Rush’ for this phenomenon. Hemp can be cultivated almost all subtropical and subantarctic regions and it grows easily without using fertilizers and agricultural chemicals. 

Also, almost all parts of hemp, from seed and root to stem and leaf and flower, is used to make approximately 50,000 kinds of products. For this reason, the US and some countries in Europe have designated hemp as one of new growth engines. The hemp market in the US is showing yearly 30% growth and the market is expected to be USD 14 billion by 2020. 

Hemp for curing incurable diseases
Green Rush Agricultural Cooperation has obtained a number of patents for hemp seed preliminary riddance process, extracting protein and fat, manufacturing hemp seed beverages and more. The excellent cultivation and processing facilities also was recognized by various organizations and the company has received a number of prizes as a result: a ministerial prize from the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, the Global Entrepreneurship Week Korea, and the top prize at the Startup Show. 

“We run a lab for Korean hemp and its commercialization and we use the data and the research results of the Suncheon Hemp Commercialization Project in order to produce quality hemp-themed products from food to cosmetics and medicine. We will keep doing our very best to pioneer Korean hemp industry and make contribution to national economy” says Yoon Jeong-hoon, the president of Green Rush Agricultural Cooperation. 

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