Rumor has it the government of North Korea is getting farmers to increase hemp production. Hemp fuel will power military planes, or at least, that’s how the story goes. It’s really just hearsay at the moment, but in theory at least, the idea could work.
Sources allege that the state plans on using the cannabis oil to fuel unmanned drones. Extract Sun Times put the tidbits and whispers together, but warns that North Korea remains an unknown quantity.
Farmers instructed to grow hemp
According to rumor, the state instructed farmers to replace traditional soybeans with cannabis to meet the demand for cooking oil. Radio Free Asia (RFA), a US funded news outlet, argues that cannabis oil is not for cooking, but for military purposes. Hemp fuel could power unmanned aerial vehicles.
Did threats from China prompt move towards hemp fuel?
All oil imported to North Korea comes from China. Pyongyang could be exploring hemp fuel for military use so that it can become less dependent on China. Global Times reported in April that gas prices increased by 83% in Pyongyang only three days after China threatened to ban oil exports to North Korea.
The news source from Pyongyang, told RFA that the farmers were first ordered to change their soybean crop to hemp in March. The authorities claimed hemp oil has more fat than soybean oil and that makes it better for cooking.
Hemp big since the 80’s
RFA reported that cannabis is considered as an oilseed crop, and is classified as such in North Korea. Farmers have been cultivating hemp legally since the early 80’s. The former leader, Kim Il Sung, went to great trouble to encourage the cultivation of cannabis. This happened during a cooking oil shortage in the 80’s.
Hemp is a useful industrial crop
Hemp is industrial cannabis containing very small amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that causes recreational users to get high. It is an ancient crop that has been cultivated by humankind for many centuries because the fiber can be used for so many things, for example, textiles, rope, or even to make a biodegradable plastic.
Replacing fossil fuel with hemp fuel is feasible. Hemp biodiesel is considered one of the only alternative fuels that can replace conventional diesel without making changes to engine designs.
Is North Korea fueling its military might with hemp?
Although it’s possible that North Korea will use hemp fuel for drones, it’s also quite possible that the country wants to explore one or more of the other benefits of hemp as a crop. As with anything that North Kore is rumored to be busy with, we simply can’t be sure.
All the same, its food for thought. After all, if we can grow fuel, why don’t we go ahead and do so? At some time in the future, replacing fossil fuels will become essential. Hemp could have the answers we’re looking for. And while it’s growing, it fixes carbon from the atmosphere, combatting global warming.