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Irish start-up raises funds to get farmers to grow hemp using drones

An Irish start-up has just raised $5.3 million (€4.5 million) in financing to provide loans to farmers in Ireland and across the world to encourage them to grow hemp for use in cannabidiol (CBD) products.

Co Meath-based Greenheart CBD, which was founded by Paul Walsh and Mark Canavan two years ago, uses drones and artificial intelligence to help maximise crop cultivation by continually monitoring plant health.

The company, which previously secured a government licence to grow hemp with farmers in Co Wicklow, has developed a number of organic CBD products for consumers that have full traceability “from seed to shelf."  CBD is the lesser-known compound found in the cannabis sativa plant; its more famous sibling, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the active ingredient in cannabis.

Having recently signed a major distribution contract with Uniphar to distribute its products, the company is now looking to expand its supply chain. It has managed to grow, in retail terms, $12 million worth of crop so far from 10 acres in Ireland but now wants to secure more hemp, particularly from the developing world.


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