Flax Council of Canada recently announced they have developed a new business plan, focused on market access activities and encouraging new memberships.
Wayne Thompson, chief executive officer of Flax Council of Canada, recently joined Kara Oosterhuis to talk about the issues facing the flax industry and how the updated plan will breathe new life into the organization.
“The Flax Council of Canada went through a process of consulting with current members and stakeholders in the flax industry to determine the need for an organization like the Flax Council of Canada,” says Thompson. The comments received back indicated that yes, there is value in the association which gave the board of directors confidence in creating the new business plan.
The price of flax has been very strong recently, and global demand is continuing to grow, says Thompson. There’s competition from the Black Sea region, and the U.S. and Chinese markets have been strong.
“The nice thing for us has been the increase in sales to the European Union market over the last couple of years as our quality and business relationships are strong with the European buyers and that’s resulted in a small shift back to Canadian flax,” says Thompson.
Currently, market access issues sometimes have to do with residue limits, but mostly are around cadmium and cyanoglucosides — barriers that are actively being broken down to promote flax’s safety to its markets.
As for Triffid, farmers have done a good job of removing the genetic material from the system and there are protocols in place for testing for Triffid, says Thompson, and the concerns for the issue aren’t as common as even a few years ago.
The largest volume for flax today is still for the industrial market — industrial coatings and linoleum, mainly — and with the pandemic there has been an uptick in consumer interest in flax as food for the health benefit.
Thompson says the council hopes to see new members join, broadening the conversation around their table, and the direction the council can take in the future to promote flax, inform the consumer, work with long-term partners, and continue to grow the industry.
Hear the full interview below: