SOURCE: Stevia Corp.

Stevia Corp.

March 05, 2014 09:00 ET

Stevia Corp. Registers Wholly Owned US Subsidiary, Real Hemp LLC

Company Also Files Federal Trademark Registration for Real Hemp

INDIANAPOLIS, IN--(Marketwired - Mar 5, 2014) -  Stevia Corp. (OTCQB: STEV) ("Stevia Corp" or the "Company"), a farm management company focused on the economic development of products that support a healthy lifestyle, including stevia and hemp, is pleased to announce the Company has registered a wholly owned subsidiary, Real Hemp LLC, an Indiana limited liability company. In addition, the Company has filed a federal trademark registration for "Real Hemp" and secured the "RealHemp.com" domain as part of its strategy to enter the US hemp industry and become a leading importer, manufacturer and licensor of hemp products and hemp derivatives.

Hemp products can all be legally imported and traded in the United States and recent growth is being fueled by an increasingly educated public that is becoming aware of the many benefits of hemp. The 2012 retail value of North American hemp food, vitamin and body care products was estimated to be in the range of $156 to $171 million by the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). When clothing, auto parts, building materials and other non-food or body care products are included, the HIA estimates that the total retail value of U.S. hemp products is about $500 million. Food and fiber uses for industrial hemp are growing rapidly and have increased over 300 percent, to an estimated 25,000 products, in the past few years. Much of that growth is coming from the increased sales of hemp food products.

Industrial hemp was the most important non-food crop in the early history of the United States, being used for sails, riggings, canvas, ropes, clothing and paper. Its diverse uses made it a required crop, for farmers' and the country's existence. With the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act in 1938, hemp production in the United States essentially ended. This was followed by the 1950's anti-drug legislation that made it illegal to grow any cannabis plant varieties to improve drug enforcement of illegal marijuana production.

George Blankenbaker, Stevia Corp President, comments, "The growth in the hemp market is being fueled by the increased public knowledge of hemp and its many benefits and the market will continue to grow as more public awareness occurs. I am currently in Asia where more than 70% of the world hemp supply is grown, working with my team to confirm quality suppliers and products. We have identified at least three products lines and will focus on having initial product in the US during the next quarter ending June 30, 2014."

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, hemp seed (and its byproducts) can be used to supplement diets poor in essential fatty acids to maintain good health. One of the fastest growing markets for hemp seed oil is health care products and hemp oil is the richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (the "good" fats) at a volume level of 81%. It is also one of only two plants that contain gamma linoleic acid (GLA), a very rare nutrient found in mother's milk that has been found to have many properties ranging from anti-inflammatory to anti-depression.

Mr. Blankenbaker adds, "Even with all the known benefits of hemp, I believe the long-term hidden value is the cannabinoid content. Although hemp is bred to produce low levels of THC, it still produces all of the other known cannabinoids common to medical marijuana, many of which are being studied for their effectiveness against cancer and other diseases. I believe continuing to leverage our current experience and expertise gained working with stevia to identify and extract specific compounds will lead to substantial value working with hemp long-term."

On February 26, 2014, the Company announced a consulting agreement with Colorado-based ebbu for the identification and extraction of cannabinoids from cannabis.

Further details of the Company's business, finances, appointments and agreements can be found as part of the Company's continuous public disclosure as a reporting issuer under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission's ("SEC") EDGAR database. For more information visit: www.steviacorp.us.

About Stevia Corp. (OTCQB: STEV)
Stevia Corp. is a farm management company focused on developing high value products through proprietary plant breeding, excellent agricultural methodologies and innovative post-harvest techniques. For more information visit: www.steviacorp.us.

About the Hemp Industry Sector
Hemp is a crop that can be grown for food and non-food purposes. As a result of its numerous nutritional benefits, many new food products containing hemp seed and its oil are finding their way into the marketplace, including pasta, tortilla chips, salad dressings, snack products and frozen desserts. Non-dairy hemp "milk" beverages, which provide significant amounts of omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) and protein, are also available. Hemp oil is also used in nutraceuticals and health care products.

As a fiber source, hemp is undergoing rapid growth as a natural fiber in everything from clothing and textiles to automotive composites. The fiber is also gaining popularity as insulation.

The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) estimated that the retail value of North American hemp food, vitamin and body care products was in the range of $156 to $171 million in 2012. When clothing, auto parts, building materials and other non-food or body care products are included, the HIA estimates that the total retail value of U.S. hemp products is about $500 million.

Food and fiber uses for industrial hemp are growing rapidly and have increased over 300 percent, to an estimated 25,000 products, in the past few years. Much of that growth is coming from the increased sales of hemp food products.

About the Stevia Industry Sector
Within two years of the USA market opening, Nielsen-based retail consumption data indicated almost $1 billion of retail sales for the sector. In 2010, stevia products were launched across thirty-five countries and in 38 categories. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that stevia could replace 20-30% of all dietary sweeteners. For more information visit: www.steviacorp.us.

Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in Section 27A of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Such forward-looking statements include, among other things, growth of hemp market, introduction of hemp products in the US markets in the quarter ended June 30, 2014, uses of industrial hemp, growth of stevia industry and replacement of dietary sweeteners.. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainties associated with new projects and development stage companies. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Although we believe that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that any such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove to be accurate. Investors should consult all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in our annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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