The Belgian flax industry

 
  • 1) Cultivation in Belgium


    • Cultivated area : 10.000 à 15.000 ha
      2014 : 10.000 ha 

    •  Location of the cultivation:
      1/3 Flanders
      2/3 Wallonia

    • Number of involved farms : 700
  • 2) Fibre production


    • Number of scutching companies : 45 

    • Processed area / year : +-13.000 ha ( +- 90.000 ton flax straw) 

    • Origines of the flax straw :
      Belgium 10.000 ha
      France 2.500 ha
      Netherlands 500 ha

    • Output fibre and by-products ( Tons/year ) :  
      scutched flax ( long fiber ) : 20.000                      
      short fibres ( tow) : 10.000                                  
      linseed: 9.000                                                                    
      shives: 42.000 

    • France + Belgium + the Netherlands = 85% - 90% of the worldwide flax production




  • 3/ Belgian exports of flax fibres (2014)


    • volume :  156.902 tons 

    • value:  176,3 million €

    • export surplus : 89,6 million 


  • 4) Employment

    • In Flanders approx. 2.000 people are involved in the cultivation , processing ( scutching) , trading , spinning and weaving of flax fibres.
       
    • If we also take into account companies indirectly linked with the flax sector ( machine makers , traders , linseed processors , ..) then the total flax value-chain employment grows to approx 3.000 employees.
  • 5) Investments


    • In 2013 almost 4,8 mio Euro investments were initiated in Flanders/Belgium. 

    • Besides continuous investment in agricultural machinery to increase the cultivation yield , investments were also made in internal logistics and material handling equipment. 

    • The further automation of the scutching lines and the expansion of the storage capacity do represent also big chunks out of the yearly investment budgets.
  • 6) Continuous Innovation & business development


    • Continuous Innovation is paramount for our sector ! Over the last years a renewed interest has been recorded for our flax fibre aiming for different new ( sometimes high-tech ) applications . This renewed interest can best be seen in the context of a continuous industrial shift towards a bio- based , more circular and greener economy. . 

    • The flax fibre has not only a limited ecological footprint , but represents in addition new functionalities ( specific stiffness , weight savings , damping characteristics , ..) for innovative material applications. The end-of-life material considerations of the flax fibre are excellent as well.

    • ABV is in “pole position” to co- steer and co-guide these exciting new developments
  • Durable because


    • Low need of fertilisers and crop protection 

    • Good rotation crop 

    • No irrigation necessary
       
    • CO2-storage 

    • Zero waste
  • Long fibres

     
    Textile ( yarns/fabrics) :

    • clothing

    • furnishing fabrics

    • household textiles

    • technical use ( strings/ropes/…)                                                  


     Non-textile :

    • composite – “prepregs” 

    • unidirectional applications 
  • Short fibres


    Textile ( yarns /fabrics) :

    • id. long fibres + blended yarns


    Non-textile :

    • paper-making

    • insulation materials

    • car components

    • other applications
  • Linseed


    Sowing seeds

    Other

    • human nourishment (e.g. bread) 

    • health care (internal and external use)

    • animal feed

    • Industrial use(oil); paint industry, linoleum, ink, soap, ...

  • Shives


    Applications:

    • Litter (esp. stables)

    • Particle boards

    • Building industrie ( stone, insulation, plastering, … ) 

    • Soil cover & soil improvement 

    • Etc.
  • 2 signatures = 2 visa of quality

  • FLAX “made in Europe”: an outstanding raw material for a “biobased” economy


    • Optimal growing conditions (soil, weather)

    • Know-how 

    • ‘Close to home’-supply 

    • Renewable resource 

    • Ecologically sound 

    • ….

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