Growing and processing flax as the basis for a "bio-based" economy in Flanders

01 May 2008 → 30 April 2010
Regional and community funding: IWT/VLAIO
Research disciplines
  • Agricultural and food sciences
    • Agricultural animal production
    • Agricultural plant production
    • Agriculture, land and farm management
    • Other agriculture, forestry, fisheries and allied sciences
Project description

The cultivation of flax and its processing into useful end products embedded in Flanders in three sectors to which this dossier focuses: the agricultural sector, the manufacturing sector flax and flaxseed processing sector. The Flemish flax manufacturing sector, after France, the second largest producer of flax fibers in Western Europe. The flax fibers are used for textile applications, but from a growing environmental awareness and interest in a rising trend is observed for the application of natural fibers, generally, and flax fiber, in particular, for technical applications. The use of this technical vlasklodden bulk applications can not be developed sufficiently due to the uncertainty about the quantities available. The current sowing of flax is determined mainly by the sales potential of long flax fibers for textile applications and export to China. Linseed is rather marginal crop in Flanders, but Flanders is a major importer and processor of linseed and linseed oil to Europe. The flax processing industry is completely dependent on imports of flax seed from Canada. In addition, a shortage of flaxseed is likely because the agricultural lands are becoming increasingly more occupied by the cultivation of various plants for, inter alia, biofuels. The flax plant is an annual renewable raw material of which all of the ingredients to be processed and valorized.