A Reintrodução do Cânhamo em Portugal

OnJack

hempadao 29 julho, 2013

Durante o salazarismo, reconheceu-se à cultura da cannabis “capacidade de limpeza contra as ervas daninhas, ocupação de mão de obra, regularizando a crise de trabalho existente nessa altura e, especialmente, o fato de ser remuneradora”.O Canto do Cisne

A partir de 1935, em pleno regime salazarista, o Ribatejo foi palco de um episódico renascimento da cultura do cânhamo industrial em Portugal, cujo auge se deu durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial. Na comunicação Pró-Cânhamo, proferida em 1942, o engenheiro agrícola Antunes Júnior explica que a reintrodução do cânhamo em Por­tugal se deveu principalmente aos "conflitos internacionais que antecederam a Segunda Guerra Mundial, sobretudo o que opôs a Itália à Abissínia, porque por efeito das sanções econômicas aplica­das à Itália, em 1937, então segundo pro­dutor mundial [de cânhamo], e os ele­vados preços prati­cados pela Espanha, a importação atin­giu preços proibiti­vos para a indústria portuguesa".

Em Portugal, a reanimação da canhamicultura deveu-se fundamental­mente à designada "Campanha da Pro­dução Agrícola", promovida pelo Minis­tério da Agricultura e executada pelas Brigadas Técnicas da Direção Geral dos Serviços Agrícolas, as quais plantaram as primeiras sementeiras experimentais no Ribatejo em 1935. Esta campanha conta­va com a colaboração da Companhia Na­cional de Fiação e Tecidos de Torres No­vas, que se comprometeu a adquirir a totalidade das necessidades do mercado português em termos de fios de cânha­mo, ou seja, entre 400 e 500 toneladas por ano.

À época, o regente agrícola Celestino Graça destacou-se pelo entusiasmo com que promoveu a cannabis, nomeadamente em A Cultura do Cânhamo (1943), que inaugurou a prestigiada coleção de livros agrícolas “A Terra e o Homem”. Referindo as “ótimas condições que em Portugal existem para a cultura do cânhamo” e os “resultados econômicos compensadores do trabalho intenso que a mesma reclama” Celestino Graça considera que devia apostar-se sobretudo na região ribatejana, "à qual, por natureza, está destinado o papel de verdadeiro solar do cânhamo em Por­tugal".

Em A Cultura do Cânhamo, Celestino Graça enumera as inúmeras utilizações da fibra da cannabis: “cabos para embarcações, toldos de vagões, encerados, barracas de campanha, sacaria da melhor qualidade, e para todas as aplicações, panos para a apanha da azeitona, malas para condução de correspondência, passadeiras, pano para revestimento de ‘maples’ e cadeiras de viagem, mangueiras, lonas, velas de fragatas e respectiva cordoaria, redes e fios de pesca, etc., etc. Além disso, podem confeccionar-se com o cânhamo tecidos mais ou menos finos, conforme a qualidade da fibra empregada, como sejam: panos para cozinha, toalhas de mão, guardanapos, tecidos para carpetes, tecidos grosseiros para vestuário, etc. (…) nas casas de lavoura pode aplicar-se a fibra de cânhamo na confecção de vários artigos da maior utilidade. As redes para condução de palha, as sogas, as prisões para manjedoura, os cabrestos ou cabeçadas para gado, as cordas, e muitos outros objetos de utilidade agrícola são de fácil fabrico e de incomparável duração”. Celestino Graça acrescenta ainda que “[p]or efeito das culturas experimentais realizadas foram-lhe reconhecidas capacidade de limpeza contra as ervas daninhas, ocupação de mão de obra, regularizando a crise de trabalho existente nessa altura no Ribatejo, possibilidade de ser praticada em terrenos em que a primeira sementeira doutra cultura se perdia com as inundações e, especialmente, o fato de ser remuneradora”.

No capítulo IV de O Cânhamo, Cultura e Utili­zação dos Seus Produtos, obra de 1942, o autor Jayme Rebelo Hespanha enumera os usos não-industriais da cannabis: "a) CAULES – Com os caules fazem-se mechas; servem para aquecer os fornos e fornecem um dos melhores carvões para a fabricação de pólvoras; b) SEMENTES – A semente do cânhamo é muito empregada na alimentação do homem, principalmente nas províncias ocidentais da Rússia. Também se em­prega na alimentação das aves ornamentais e canoras e, muito, nos seus primeiros dias de vida, sejam quais forem. Das sementes extrai-se de 20 a 25% de um óleo secativo usado na pintura, no fabrico de sabões moles e, em certos países, em culinária. Os resíduos da extração do óleo constituem um excelente alimento de engorda para o gado ovino e suíno; c) FOLHAS – Constituem um bom adubo, enriquecendo os maus terrenos; d) GOMA-RESINA – Esta gôma-resina possui proprie­dades embriagantes, provocando uma embriaguês nervosa em que todas as sensações agradáveis ou desagradáveis, segundo a disposição momentânea ou habitual do espírito do paciente, são considera­velmente exaltadas. O haschich é uma preparação das folhas do cânhamo usada por algumas popu­lações indígenas da Arábia e da África".

Em 1943, de acor­do com Celestino Graça, "o interesse pela cultura toma aspecto de entusias­mo febril. A área to­tal das sementeiras atingiu, aproximada­mente, 600 hectares e muito mais haveria sido se não tivesse escasseado a semente"; contudo, logo após o fim da 2a Guerra, em 1945, ini­ciou-se um processo de decadência que contrariou as risonhas expectativas; como consequência, pôs-se fim a uma investigação que muito teria beneficiado a agricultura portuguesa, se devidamente desenvolvida.

Ainda segundo Celestino Graça, o gol­pe de misericórdia da cultura do cânhamo em Portugal deu-se entre 1952 e 1956, quando se registrou "uma invasão do mer­cado por grandes quantidades de fio espanhol que era mais resistente (cerca de 5%) que o melhor fio conseguido pelo cânhamo cultivado em Portugal. A pro­dução tornou-se então excedentária, ori­ginando, em 1953, a existência de elevados ‘stocks’ que provocaram incerteza e medo na manutenção da cultura". E, apesar de em 1954 o governo ter concedido um su­bsídio à produção do cânhamo, as últimas plantações portuguesas de cannabis in­dustrial extinguiram-se no Ribatejo em 1970; por curiosa coincidência, o preciso ano em que a cannabis e o seu cultivo fo­ram ilegalizados entre nós.

Sobre as causas do desaparecimento da cultura do cânhamo em Portugal, escreveu o regente agrícola Carlos Montemor em tese de mestrado apresentada em 1997 no Instituto Superior de Agro­nomia: "[À] semelhança do que aconte­ceu com outros têxteis e oleaginosas na­turais, a cultura foi vítima do progresso: desaparecimento dos barcos à vela, con­corrência dos têxteis e oleaginosas das antigas colónias (algodão, sisal, juta, amendoim, entre outras), o apareci­mento das fibras sintéticas após a segun­da guerra. A redução da área cultivada e da produção global foram também pro­vocadas pela perda de rendimento em relação a outras culturas, pela dificul­dade em encontrar mão-de obra neces­sária, nomeadamente à execução da co­lheita e maceração que são trabalhos penosos".



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