Abstract The demand for renewable raw materials is increasing, and many new products processed from strong fibres such as hemp and flax appear all over the world. The industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is currently not grown in Lithuania. The possibilities of acclimatization of this plant in Lithuania, yielding potential, biometrical indices of five hemp cultivars (‘Beniko’, ‘Bialobrezskie’, ‘Epsilon 68’, ‘Felina 32’ and USO 31) were investigated at the Upytė Research Station of LIA in 2008–2009.
The table below shows the gross margin that can be expected for different yields of hemp compared with alternative break crops. Like all crops the yield can vary depending on the weather and growing conditions. In good years yields of 9 tonnes per hectare have been achieved but an average of 7.5 tonnes per hectare is more likely.
Bast crops (flax, nettle, hemp) form an integral part of the Lithuanian culture with underlying deep traditions. From the ancient times they were used for weaving and food; songs were sung and folk tales were told about them.
Aiming to return hemp to the Lithuanian national heritage and to revive the forgotten tradition (to sow, to reap, to make fiber, to spin, to weave and to extract oil from seeds – everything by hand) a field of hemp had been sown by hand, first time after the restoration of Lithuanian independence in 1990. The sowing was accompanied by ancient Lithuanian rituals – purification of the field by burning wormwood and juniper, ritual singing, bonfires. This beautiful new tradition was called, as in a well-known song, “I was sowing hemp”.