How to Make Quality Cannabis, and the Role of Organic Farming
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How to Make Quality Cannabis, and the Role of Organic Farming

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The Story of Cannabis: What Investors Need to KnowAnatomy of a Cannabis PlantA Quality Cannabis ProductThe Rise of OrganicA Sustainable Cannabis ProductThe Science Behind the Medical Cannabis IndustryComing soonComing soon

How to Make Quality Cannabis, and the Role of Organic Farming

How to Make Quality Cannabis, and the Role of Organic Farming

The cannabis industry is picking up speed across the continent.

Canada has now become the first G7 country to legalize recreational cannabis nationwide – and across the border, more U.S. states are also entering what could become a $95 billion market by 2026.

As the industry matures, product quality will become a strong differentiator between those competing for market share. But what makes for a top-notch cannabis product, and does organic farming play a role in this?

How Quality Cannabis is Made

Today’s infographic from The Green Organic Dutchman explains what goes into making a high quality cannabis product, and why the industry could be gearing towards embracing organic farming.

The first major factor that affects quality is where it is grown.

For most of its 6,000-year history, cannabis was predominantly grown outdoors. In a more modern setting, however, indoor cultivation has increased in popularity.

Here are the pros and cons of both environments:

 
Indoor
Outdoor
Benefits
  • A precisely controlled environment, with year-round cultivation
  • Full spectrum of sunlight in a natural environment

  • Less labor needed, with lower operating costs
Drawbacks
  • Climate control systems are expensive to operate

  • More labor intensive, producing less yield
  • Cultivation is climate-dependent
Impact on Quality
  • Cannabis strains are aesthetically more pleasing, with higher average THC percentages
  • Higher yields of cannabis are produced, with superior flavor and potency

Interestingly, many modern cannabis producers do not rely on soil as a growing medium anymore. Instead, they use the latest technology to improve upon traditional methods:

  1. Aeroponics: Plant roots are sprayed directly with a nutrient-rich mist
  2. Hydroponics: Plant roots are submerged in a nutrient solution
  3. Micro-propagation: Plant samples are multiplied in agar gel

While growing cannabis using innovative methods can result in healthy and high-yield products, this also increases operational and labor costs. At the same time, it’s clear that the way cannabis is grown significantly affects the final product and its environmental footprint.

The Issue with Modern Cannabis

Even with all of these other innovations that help in achieving a superior product, many cannabis growers use “super chemicals” or pesticides to achieve rapid growth for their plants. The catch? Cannabis plants are effective at leaching toxins from soil, which means they can easily wind up in the final product.

What’s more, commonly used pesticides such as pyrethins can be safe for consumption in trace amounts. But when cannabis is smoked, the heat can make these chemicals much more toxic for humans.

There’s also mother nature to consider. In modern farming, leftover byproducts often run off into the groundwater, polluting nearby bodies of water.

Growing cannabis organically in living soil avoids all the above problems.

  • No pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers are present in the environment
  • Cannabis plant and soil microbiology have a symbiotic relationship
  • Maintains an ecological balance among the plant and its surroundings

The result of this all-natural process? A safe and premium consumer cannabis product.

As the cannabis green rush progresses, we will dive further into the push towards organic products in the agri-food industry, and what this means for the rapidly-maturing cannabis space.

The Story of Cannabis: What Investors Need to KnowAnatomy of a Cannabis PlantA Quality Cannabis ProductThe Rise of OrganicA Sustainable Cannabis ProductThe Science Behind the Medical Cannabis IndustryComing soonComing soon
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Agriculture

Ranked: The World’s Top Cotton Producers

As the most-used natural fiber, cotton has become the most important non-food agricultural product.

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Ranked: The World’s Top Cotton Producers

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

Cotton is present in our everyday life, from clothes to coffee strainers, and more recently in masks to control the spread of COVID-19.

As the most-used natural fiber, cotton has become the most important non-food agricultural product. Currently, approximately half of all textiles require cotton fibers.

The above infographic lists the world’s top cotton producers, using data from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Fancy Fabric

Originating from the Arabic word “quton,” meaning fancy fabric, cotton is a staple fiber made up of short fibers twisted together to form yarn.

The earliest production of cotton was around 5,000 B.C. in India, and today, around 25 million tons of cotton are produced each year.

Currently, five countries make up around 75% of global cotton production, with China being the world’s biggest producer. The country is responsible for over 23% of global production, with approximately 89 million cotton farmers and part-time workers. Cotton’s importance cannot be understated, as it is the primary input for the Chinese textile industry along with many other nations’ textile industries.

Top Cotton Producers2020/2021 (metric tons)2021/2022 (metric tons)
🇨🇳 China 6,445,0005,835,000
🇮🇳 India6,009,0005,334,000
🇺🇸 United States3,181,0003,815,000
🇧🇷 Brazil2,356,0002,504,000
🇦🇺 Australia610,0001,252,000
🇵🇰 Pakistan 980,0001,306,000
🇹🇷 Turkey631,000827,000
🌐 Other 4,059,0004,282,000
Total24,271,00025,155,000

The United States is the leading global exporter of cotton, exporting three-fourths of its crop with China as the top buyer.

Despite its importance for the global economy, cotton production faces significant sustainability challenges.

The Controversy Over Cotton

Cotton is one of the largest users of water among all agricultural commodities, and production often involves applying pesticides that threaten soil and water quality.

Along with this, production often involves forced and child labor. According to the European Commission, child labor in the cotton supply chain is most common in Africa and Asia, where it comes from small-holder farmers.

In 2020, U.S. apparel maker Patagonia stopped sourcing cotton from the autonomous territory of Xinjiang because of reports about forced labor and other human rights abuses against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities.

L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, has also committed to eliminating Chinese cotton from its supply chain. Whether these changes in supply chains impact China’s cotton production and its practices, cotton remains essential to materials found across our daily lives.

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Agriculture

Mapped: Where Does Our Food Come From?

Did you know that over two-thirds of national crops originated from somewhere else? Over time the food that built national diets has evolved.

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The following content is sponsored by Brazil Potash

Where Does Our Food Come From?

Did you know that over two-thirds of national crops originated from somewhere else?

Humans have been selecting and growing crops for specific traits since the origins of agriculture some 10,000 years ago, shaping where and what crops are grown today.

Now our food system is completely global and many of the world’s top producers of staple crops are in countries far from their historical origin. For example, Brazil is now the largest soybean producer in the world, though the crop is originally from East Asia.

The above infographic by Brazil Potash shows the historical origins of crops before they were domesticated across the globe and the main producers of our staple crops today.

Producers Of Staple Crops Today

Staple crops are those that are the most routinely grown and consumed. These can vary between countries depending on availability.

In 2020, sugarcane, maize, wheat, and rice made up around 50% of global crop production.

But when the production and distribution of staple crops are threatened, the consequences can be felt globally. Let’s take a look at the countries that were the top three producers of some of our staple crops in 2020.

CropCountryPercentage of Global Production
Sugar Cane 🇧🇷Brazil 40.5%
Sugar Cane🇮🇳India 19.9%
Sugar Cane🇨🇳China 5.8%
Maize🇺🇸U.S. 30.9%
Maize🇨🇳China 22.4%
Maize🇧🇷Brazil 8.9%
Wheat 🇨🇳China 17.6%
Wheat🇮🇳India14.1%
Wheat🇷🇺Russia11.3%

As you can see from the data above, Brazil is the world’s largest producer of sugarcane and one of the top three producers of maize.

The Future of Food Security

Global food security depends on staple crops and the countries that produce them. As the global population increases, so does the need to grow more crops.

The FAO estimates that by 2050 the world will need to increase its food output by around 70% in order to feed an ever-growing population.

Early food security solutions were transplanting crops from other regions to supplement diets. Now crop yields must increase as the next evolution in strengthening our food security. Fertilizers are a vital step in this process and are an essential ingredient in the future of global food security. They provide vital nutrients that increase crop production and strengthen nutrition security.

Brazil Potash extracts vital potash ore from the earth for it to return to the earth as fertilizer, fortifying food and helping to maintain continuous growth in the agricultural sector.

Click here to learn more about fertilizer and food production in Brazil.

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