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Flax Crop Market Projections, Opportunities & Growth Factors Analyzed until 2026

Flax is also known as a common flax or linseed, which is a crop mainly cultivated in the cooler regions of the world. There are two verities of flax plants, one which yields blue flowers and the other which yields white flowers. Textiles made from flax plant are known as linen, which are mainly used for bed sheets, table linen, and under garments. Oil extracted from the plant is known as linseed oil. It is widely used in paint binder, putty and wood finish because of its drying (water repellent) properties. Flaxseed oil is extracted by cold pressing. This keeps its nutrients in their original form, making it fit for human consumption.

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Market Dynamics

Multiple health advantages of flax crop is expected to be a major driver for rising demand for flax crops, globally. It acts as a natural laxative, aids in hormonal balance, and reduces risk related to osteoporosis. Moreover, governments of various countries have realized such health benefits and are focusing on providing health approvals for use of it in various products. For instance, in October 2013, Health Canada`s Food Directorate approved a health claim of flaxseed for serum cholesterol lowering. Such claims will aid food manufacturers to state on labels about health benefits of flax consumption to a reduce serum cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for coronary heart diseases. This is expected to positively affect demand for flaxseed in food industries.

Demand for flax crop is increasing, owing to demand for seeds and fiber that is used in industries such as food, medical, and textile.

Factors such as weather conditions, optimum use of fertilizers (containing nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium), and weed control are key restraints in the production of flax crop because cold weathers and optimum use of fertilizers are favorable for these crops. For instance, according to Flax council of Canada, in 2017, dry conditions have damaged the flax yields and result was 507,000 tones, which is 80,000 less than in 2016, in spite of an 11% increase in seeded area. Furthermore, some governments have stringent policies regarding use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) seeds and use of certain pesticides. For instance, in 2010, the European Union, purchased 70% of Canada’s flax. The European Union has a zero-tolerance policy regarding genetically modified organisms and turned down shipments, which adversely affected the Canada’s US$ 320 million flax crop industry. Moreover, in 2016, Europe rejected shipments of flax from Russia and Kazakhstan. The reason for the rejections was due to higher than acceptable levels of a chemical herbicide called Haloxyfop. This is another factor restraining growth of the market.

Governments of various countries in association with several organizations are focusing on increasing yield of flax seed, in order to cater to increasing demand for these in various end-use industries. This is expected to aid in growth of the market over the forecast period. For instance, in 2015, in Canada, the Flax Council, along with the Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission and the Manitoba Flax Growers Association, developed best management practices and treatments such as row spacing, seeding rate, seeding date and fertility rate, which act as key management considerations for increased flax crop yields and improved quality against the restraint of weather condition.

Moreover, in order to maintain the quality of flax seeds, governments are focusing on providing certification standards for these seeds. This is another factor that is expected to support growth of the market. There are flax seed certification standards, which are to be followed for an efficient yield of a crop. Many processing companies reject the crops that are contaminated by weed.

Market Outlook

North America held the dominant position in global flax crop market in 2017 and it is projected to maintain its dominance throughout the forecast period. This is owing to higher presence of flax crop manufacturers in the region. In North America, the U.S. is the most lucrative market for flax crops. Furthermore, according to Industrial Oil Crops’ Journal, in 2016, oilseed flax is primarily grown in Canada, because of favorable weather conditions for flax farming. According Flax Council of Canada, Canada is the world’s leading producer and exporter of flax seed from 1994, recording flax exports at over 500,000 tons in 2016/17.

Moreover, increasing investment by governments in flax industry is expected to aid in growth of the market in the region. For instance, in December 2016, Government of Canada invested around US$ 135,000 in the Flax Council of Canada to develop four nutritious flax-based food products that may also help to lower cholesterol.

Flax seed accounted for highest revenue share in the market in 2017. Flax seed is a versatile product and has wide application. Flax seed oil is used as anti-termite agent. It is useful in the process of leather conditioning and wood finishing application.

Key players in Global Flax Crop Market

Key players operating in the global flax crop market are Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc., Legumex Walker Inc., Biolin Research Inc (Private-small), Cargill, Incorporated, Glanbia plc, Archer Daniels Midland Company, CHS Inc., SunOpta Inc., Grain Millers, Inc., SWM INTL, Linen of Desna LLC, and others.

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