Wide Open Agriculture Ltd (ASX: WOA) is in the business of consumer staples based in Wheatbelt, Western Australia. The company’s vertically integrated regenerative food and agriculture business include protected cropping, farmland assets and a food brand; Food for ReasonsTM.
On 6th May 2019, the company announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the WA Hemp Growers’ Cooperative Ltd (HempGro) to become the lead collaborative partner in WA’s largest industrial hemp trial.
Industrial Hem Project: The name of the project is “Right Seed for the Right Region” under which WOA will collaborate with HempGro to identify the most suitable industrial hemp seed varieties for various WA conditions. This Project is supported by the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and is a state-wide trial to be steered in many areas.
Industrial hemp contains less than 1% THC and yields a high-protein seed and a fibre that may be decoricated for textiles and building products. Industrial hemp seeds are also high in omega-3 and can be used in food, non-dairy milk and oil production.
HempGro will be funded by WOA for up to $20,000 to test several globally sourced varieties of hemp at its existing smart shade house facilities. Funder fund contribution will be made by DPIRD which would be equal to the WOA’s spending. DPIRD will also help in developing and support standardised trial procedure and assist each trial site with agronomic best practice and experimental design.
WOA will be receiving ten different varieties of seed from China, Canada and France, which will be sourced by HempGro for the trials. It is expected that the crops will be planted in September 2019, testing organic and regenerative growing systems. Apart from production, WOA is also aiming to become Western Australia’s leading marketer and distributor of organic and regeneratively grown industrial hemp.
HempGro will provide WOA with introductions to organic and regenerative industrial hemp growers seeking these services. Participants in the Upper Great Southern, Great Southern, Kimberley and Northern Wheatbelt regions of Western Australia will undertake the open field trials, and this trial will be the only program conducted under controlled, automated shade house conditions and open field.
Dr Ben Cole, Managing Director of WOA said these trials are aimed specifically on learning about the seed varieties that are most commercially viable for growing hemp in a Wheatbelt climate. The hemp varieties will also be grown in the company’s shade house in a highly controlled environment which enables testing throughout the year.
Gail Stubber, Executive Officer of HempGro, stated they are excited to partner with WOA as its expertise in protected cropping will help in spotting suitable hemp varieties.
On 2nd April 2019, WOA reported its maiden industrial hemp crop grown at its smart shade house.
The market capitalisation of the company is A$9.53 million. The 52-week high and low of the stock is A$0.21 and A$0.105 respectively. The stock closed at A$0.15, as of 6th May 2019. In the last three months, the stock has delivered a return of 12.5%, and the YTD return stands at negative 6.9%.
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