Wednesday, December 28, 2005


"Logic would dictate that the role of the existing channels, both direct and indirect, would become marginalized in a commodity world", sumarize Janet Waxman and Ken Presti into their report about the IT market (Commodity is not the end of the channel) ; " but at any point in time, different technologies are at different points in their life cycles, meaning that partners that do an effective job of evolving with industry trends are best poised for ongoing success".

This is also applicable to other products, even such "basic" ones as raw materials for feed and food. The Flax Canada 2015 initiative is a good example of the essential role which could be played by effective actors on the emerging market of bio-economy, explains John Oliver in a very interesting editorial entitled Vision is the critical ingredient:

“Many Canadian farmers worry about their future and how they can compete against the likes of Argentina and Brazil in the commodities game.

I think they’re right to be worried. I don’t believe that Canadian agriculture can survive the way it’s currently structured.

But I’m not a pessimist. Quite the opposite – I think the potential is enormous. What’s needed is a vision, and the will to do what’s necessary to achieve that vision.

That’s why we’ve undertaken the Flax Canada 2015 initiative. Flax is much like canola was in the early 1970s – an industrial crop whose health benefits both in food and animal feed are just being recognized. It also has huge potential in terms of being a source of fibre, as a biofuel stock, and using its component constituents for industrial purposes.

Our approach is to think of flax in terms of its ability to provide solutions for society. For example, we look at the trillions that are going to be spent on health care in Canada in the coming years and ask what is the value of new flax products – such as Omega 3 eggs or pork – if they can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease?

Right now, Canada is the world’s top producer of flax, producing about 700,000 tonnes annually. That’s worth about $300 to $400 million but we feel that by identifying and exploiting value-added opportunities that are on the horizon today, we can raise that farm gate value to $1.5 billion by 2015. I believe the health, welfare and environmental benefits to the Canadian economy will be ten times that amount.

Canada has been dealt the best hand in the world to exploit this opportunity because we have the physical ingredients – land, water and energy – and the expertise in our farm, research, and business communities needed to achieve these goals.

Flax is an example of what Canada can do in the emerging bio-economy, but not the only one. The current difficulty faced by Canadian agriculture is not a reason to despair, but to challenge ourselves to see the potential of the future and seize it with both hands".

Saturday, August 13, 2005


A long time before any cereal was grown, linseed has been used by Man for various purposes :
- Its fiber in the confection of clothes (flax)
- Its oil in preparation of paints and treatment of wood
- Its seed, crushed and cooked, in the diet of animals and humans.

Greeks and Romans, as testified by Hippocrates and Pliny, knew the nutri-functional properties of linseed ; during the Middle Ages, monks and monarchs, as natural heirs of Greco-roman civilization, encouraged cultivation of this vegetal all over Europe : as a consequence, the production of linseed and flax covered thousands of hectares until the XIXth century.

Nowadays, the biggest producer of flax in the world is Canada ; but the linseed varieties richest in Omega 3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) are grown in Europe, especially in France and Great-Britain.

Linseed nutri-functional benefits for animals have been now well and scientifically demonstrated in exhaustive research work : cooked linseed incorporated in animal diets improves zoo-technical performances, productivity and fertility in all species (dairy cows, sows, poultry, …)

Except young spring grass, linseed is the greatest provider of Omega 3 Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acid (PUFA), through its high content in ALA ; but the increasing use of soya/cereals-based diets in intensive animal production, even in beef cattle, results in a lower proportion of these Omega 3 PUFA in milk, in meat and in eggs compared with traditional animal production.

Every day, we learn more and more about the important link between nutrition and health, and particularly between animal nutrition and human health.

This “food chain” concept has been developed by Professor Elton in the years twenties of last century : Elton explained that vegetal get energy from the light of the sun (through the photosynthesis), vegetal-eating animals get their energy from eating vegetal, and carnivores/omnivores animals get their energy from eating other animals.

The word "chain" means that all the steps are linked together, so anything that affects one "link" in the chain affects every step in the chain. The first step, the vegetal, is called the producer, and the differents steps coming after it are called consumers : to take an example, dairy cows and beef cattle eat young grass during spring and could be fed with diets including cooked linseed during the rest of the year ; humans drink cow’s milk and eat beef meat : so humans will have the benefits of Omega 3 PUFA through the eating-vegetal animal step. The reality is not so simple (as dairy cows and beef cattle eat others vegetal products and humans eat others animal products and also vegetal products); but chain or web, food remains obviously the link between all the animals.

The increasing interest in health benefits which are associated with the consumption of Omega 3 will increase the sales of various supplements and foods containing these PUFA ; as humans are not real vegetal-eating animals, but carnivore/omnivore ones, their sources of Omega 3 PUFA could be not only fatty fish, but also every animal product from animals -- either vegetal-eating animals (like dairy cows or beef cattle) or omnivore animals (like pigs) -- fed with diets including cooked linseed.


LINSEED INTERNATIONAL NETWORK is intended to promote the use of linseed in feed and food for better results in animal breeding and human health within a natural approach of nutrition which takes care of food chain. Members of LINSEED INTERNATIONAL NETWORK, both suppliers and customers, are kept informed of long-term opportunities on the flax and linseed market through worldwide e-contacts. 
Membership is free ; fees (at a very low rate) are only charged on sales which could be realized within the network: please feel free to contact us, for more explanations.
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