Mass production will begin soon
Scientists at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad have managed to extract hemp thread from indigenous cannabis and are now working on making sustainable jeans from the hemp fabric.
Hemp fabric is a type of textile manufactured using fibres from the stalks of the cannabis sativa plant.
After extraction the scientists processed it and mixed it with cotton to make sustainable fabric.
"We have signed an MoU with a US-based company and will soon begin mass production," said Dr Asad Farooq, the chairperson of the Department of Fibre and Textile Technology at the University of Agriculture.
He was speaking on SAMAA TV show's Naya Din Thursday about the industrial breakthrough and plans to expand manufacturing to produce sustainable denim for jeans.
There is a growing a demand in the US and Europe to replace cotton with sustainable fibre, Dr Farooq explained.
Our textile industry received demands and we were contacted by US apparel, a group in Lahore that makes denim, he added.
Work began after the government granted them approval.
Hemp fabric is harsh and requires a lot of chemical processing to soften it, a scientist at the university told SAMAA TV reporter Yousuf Cheema.
The fibres are first separated from the plant by a process called retting. Impurities are removed and they are chemically treated and spun into yarn. Once the fabric becomes soft it can blend with cotton easily.
We used a ratio of 20:80 of hemp and cotton, respectively, said Dr Farooq.
Hemp is three times more expensive than cotton because of all the processing. As mass production and supply speeds up, the price is likely to decrease, he said.