The cultivation of hemp was legalized in most European Union-member states between 1993 and 1996. In 2011, cultivation decreased to its lowest value since 1994, just 8,000 hectares. However, it has increased steadily since 2012 to reach 33,000 hectares in 2016. According to the European Industrial Hemp Association, Europe expects almost constant or moderately growing cultivation areas in the coming years. The main cultivation areas are in France, the Netherlands, the Baltic Countries and Romania. Industrial hemp fiber is used for lightweight papers, insulation material and biocomposites. Currently, the fiber sector is expanding to meet the increasing demand of the automotive industry. European hemp fibers are the only natural fiber worldwide with an established sustainability certification.
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