Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSXV: RIV) has announced it will produce 600,000 kilos of cannabis per year at a cultivation site in Sicily.

The Toronto-based firm has an Italian subsidiary called Canapar and it has put together a network of more than 1,000 hectares on which contracted farmers will produce hemp. It reported that this process will yield 600 metric tons (600,000 kilos) of hemp biomass per year. It will then take this to a facility and turn it into CBD isolates and derivative products for distribution in the European market.

It claims that this will be Europe’s largest cannabis cultivation venture and it certainly rivals the ambitious project from Portuguese firm Holigen in the Alentejo region.

“In a short time, Canapar has achieved several significant milestones positioning the company as a leader in the nascent European CBD vertical,” said Olivier Dufourmantelle, chief operating officer of Canopy Rivers. “With over 1,000 hectares of hemp secured, strong partnerships with Italian universities, and this new facility, Canapar is well positioned to supply Europe’s demand for CBD derived products.”

Europe is projected to be the fastest growing region in the global cannabis market over the next five years.

Europe is projected to be the fastest growing region in the global cannabis market over the next five years, and North American firms are keen to establish operations on the continent.

Canapar’s Sicilian operation is located on the outskirts of Ragusa, a hilltop city in the southeast of the Italian island. Mayor Peppe Cassi was on hand to lead a ribbon-cutting ceremony alongside local dignitaries this week, and the authorities seem keen to promote a thriving cannabis industry there. The regulatory landscape in Europe is creating exciting opportunities for global players in this industry and it will be intriguing to see how it develops going forward.

Canapar relies on an outsource farming model, and it has put together a network of more than 1,000 hectares contracted for hemp farming.

Canopy Rivers is a spinoff of Canopy Growth (TSX: WEED, NYSE: CGC), which owns 27% of it. It exists to boost Canopy Growth, and the two firms work collaboratively to identify strategic counterparties seeking financial and/or operating support.

However, while they are joined at the hip for certain purposes, they have their own stock listings and they present very different prospects for investors. Canopy Rivers has a smaller market cap and a different focus, and this Sicilian venture is certainly worth keeping an eye on.