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".

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