Canada - A Flax Leader
For centuries, flax has played an important role in Canadian agriculture. High quality flax as an ingredient in food and many other products has given Canada an edge in world sales and exports of the commodity.
Today, Canada is the world's leader in the production and export of flax — a position it has held since 1994. In the relatively poor crop year of 2004/05, Canada produced about 500,000 t, and exported about 90% of it, according to Statistics Canada . In 2005/06, Canadian flax production totalled 1.035 mt.
One of five major Canadian crops, flax travels today to ports alongside wheat, barley, oats and canola. Canadian flax is exported mainly to Europe, the U.S., Japan and South Korea . Canada currently ships 60% of its flax exports to the EU, 30% to the United States, and 4% to Japan.
Solin, a flax derivative, is a yellow-seeded crop which was introduced to Canadian producers in 1993. Solin has a very different fatty acid profile from flax. Solin varieties have less than 5 per cent alpha-linolenic acid compared to the more than 50 per cent in flax.
In contrast, flax produces a brown seed with high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential acid which nutritionists recognize as a contributor to good health.