Hemp cultivars and research in the former USSR

Robert C. Clarke

Projects Manager, International Hemp Association, Postbus 57007, 1070 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

        Hemp is cultivated in several different agricultural regions across the former USSR.  According to a report presented at the 1995 Conference on Oil Crops held at Tver, Russia, there were approximately 10,000 ha. of hemp being grown in Russia last year.  If the hemp growing regions of the Ukraine, totaling 3,500 ha., are added to the Russian figure, the total area under hemp cultivation in the former USSR was approximately 13,500 ha. in 1995.   Acreage in Russia was approximately the same in 1996 and decreased to 2,900 ha. in the Ukraine.  Hemp is cultivated for both fiber and seed.
        Seven hemp varieties are commonly grown in the former USSR.  They are primarily used for fiber production, but some of them are used for both fiber and seed production.  Fiber is used to make ropes, cordage and technical fabrics for various fields of industry and agriculture.  Hemp fiber is not used for fine textile production.  Seeds are primarily used for sowing in Russia and the Ukraine.

        Following is a list of Russian and Ukrainian research institutes involved in hemp research.

N. I. Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry
42 Bolshaya Morskaya Street,
190000 St. Petersburg, Russia
E-mail: vir@glas.apc.org
Fax: +7 812 311 8762

Director: Dr. Victor Dragatsev
Head/Industrial Crops Dept.: Dr. Sofia Kutuzova

        Research Topics:  The Vavilov Research Institute (VIR) houses the world's largest collection of Cannabis germplasm.   The International Hemp Association (IHA) has sponsored the organization, reproduction and evaluation of VIR Cannabis accessions since 1993.  By the end of 1996, over 300 accessions will be reproduced.  Dr. Kutuzova serves as Chief of the VIR/IHA Cannabis Germplasm Preservation Project.

Penza Research Institute of Agriculture
Lunino-1, Luninsky District, Penza Province 442730, Russia
Tel/Fax: +7 (841-61) 211-91

Director: Dr. Victor B. Belyak
Head, Hemp Breeding Dept.:
Dr. Konstantin A. Makarov

        Research Topics:  The Penza Research Institute of Agriculture has had a cooperative research arrangement with the VIR since 1992.  In 1996, they had 96 VIR hemp accessions under study.  The institute is working on the modernization of hemp cultivation technology, chemical protection of hemp crops and breeding for lowered cannabinoid content, productivity and quality of fiber.

Chuvash Agricultural Institute
Ulitsa K. Marksa 29, Cheboksary 428000, Russia
Tel: +7 223-34 or 223-35

Hemp Curator: Dr. G. S. Stepanov,
Head, Dept. of Botany, Physiology and Breeding.

        Research Topics:  Dr. Stepanov is the breeder of cv. 'Diana' which was introduced in 1994.

Krasnodar Research Institute of Agriculture
Post Office Box 12, Krasnodar, Russia

Hemp Breeder: Mr. Pavel V. Nimchenko

        Research Topics:  Mr. Pavel V. Nimchenko was the originator of cvs. 'Krasnodarskaya 56' and 'Kuban' (registered 1984), which are no longer used for commercial production, and cv. 'Zenica' (registered 1990), introduced in 1993.

Institute of Bast Crops of Ukrainian Academy of the Agrarian Sciences
Lenina Street 45, 245130 Sumy Region, Glukhov, Ukraine
Fax: +380 5444 22643

Director: Dr. P. Goloborod'ko
Hemp Breeders: Dr. V. G. Virovets,
Dr. I. Sherban and Dr. N. Orlov

        Research Topics: Creation of a hemp genetics collection (Dr. V. G. Virovets); breeding of monoecious hemp varieties USO-14, USO-31 and Glukhovskaya 33 (Dr. V. G. Virovets and Dr. I. Sherban) and Zolotonoshskaya USO-11 and Zolotonoshskaya 13 (Dr. N. Orlov); low THC monoecious variety seed reproduction (Dr. V. Sitnik); hemp growing technology (Dr. P. Goloborod'ko and Dr. Y. Korotia); hemp harvesting machinery development (Ing. N. Rudnikov); hemp processing technology (Dr. R. Giliazetdinov) and standardization of hemp products (Prof. M. Timonin and Dr. L. Zhuplatova).
        Hemp breeding research is carried out in conjunction with the Department of Hemp Selection and Seed Growing located in the city of Zolotonosha in the Cherkassy region and the Institute of Grain Growing in the city of Sinelnykovo in Dnepropetrovsk region.
        The institute is currently financed from equal parts of state budget and commercial activities.  However, the state budget is steadily decreasing, so the institute is interested in participating in international research programs.  Future research goals include the establishment of a hemp germplasm collection for the creation of hemp varieties suitable for growing in diverse regions of the world, development of high-yielding and high-oil-content hemp seed varieties and new investigations into developing inexpensive technologies for hemp harvesting and processing.

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        Additional information concerning these hemp cultivars and many more can be found in Etienne de Meijer's article entitled 'Fibre hemp cultivars: A survey of origin, ancestry, availability and brief agronomic characteristics' in Vol. 2 No. 2 of the Journal of the International Hemp Association. 2(2):66-73 (1995).

Table 1.  Hemp varieties currectly grown in Russia and the Ukraine.

     Variety Name

Maintaining Institution

Region of Cultivation
(see map)

     'Dnepropetrovskaya Odnodomnaya 6'
     (registered 1980)

Institute of Grain Growing,
Sinelnykovo, Dnepropetrovsk region,

     (registered 1984)

Institute of Bast Crops of Ukranian
of Agrarian Sciences
     (registered 1986)
Institute of Bast Crops of Ukranian
of Agrarian Sciences
     (registered 1980)
Institute of Bast Crops of Ukranian
of Agrarian Sciences
     (registered 1987)
Institute of Bast Crops of Ukranian
of Agrarian Sciences
     (registered 1990)
Krasnodar Research Institute
of Agriculture
     monoecious / dioecious ?
     (registered ?)
Chuvash Agricultural Institute 5,7