An action-research exploration of value chain development from field to consumer based on organic hempseed oil in Sicily

Although hemp cultivation is increasingly perceived as a promising option in terms of crop diversification, especially in semi-arid conditions such as in the Mediterranean region, its adoption remains limited thus constraining the development of hemp value chains at a larger scale. Our objective was to explore suitable conditions, at farm and downstream levels, for organic hempseed oil production in Sicily, taking on an action-research perspective that involves local actors. Based on a preliminary characterisation of barriers to organic hemp development at different value chain levels, we carried out targeted complementary investigation: (i) assessment on agroenvironmental performances of integrating hemp in durum wheat-based rotations; (ii) chemical analysis of local hempseed oil; (iii) exploration of marketing knowledge as well as thedeficiencies of suitable cultivars andadequatemachinerywere themain barriers for the organic hemp value chain development in Sicily. The analysis of agroenvironmental performances also revealed both strengths and weaknesses of hemp introduction in durum-wheat based rotations. Despite the identified limitations,wedemonstrated that the organichempvalue chains represent interesting perspectives for the Sicilian farming sector, particularly in case of substantial barriers removal or adaptation.

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“An action-research exploration of value chain development from field to consumer based on organic hempseed oil in Sicily” was written by Luca Colombo, FIRAB, Fondazione Italiana per la Ricerca in Agricoltura Biologica e Biodinamica, Rome, Italy, Giovanni Dara Guccione, CREA, Research Centre for Agricultural Policies and Bioeconomy, Palermo, Italy, Stefano Canali, CREA, Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment, Rome, Italy, Ileana Iocola, CREA, Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment, Rome, Italy, Clementine Antier, SyTra, Earth and Life Institute, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, and Kevin Morel, UMR SADAPT, INRAE, AgroParisTech, Universit  Paris-Saclay, Paris, France

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