Flax is one of the world’s oldest plants that produce fiber. In other words, flax is one of the major sources of natural fiber in the world.
Flax is mainly grown in places with low temperature. The best flax is grown in areas with cool weather and yield high production. The quantity of flax produced by a country can tell the type of climate in that specific country. Flax also requires highly fertile soil for its growth.
So what exactly is flax? Flax is just a fibre crop that can be used as a source material for fiber and also can be eaten. The commonly named textile material linen is made from flax. Most of you know that linen is used to manufacture bed sheets, table linen, underclothes etc. flax fibers are basically taken from the stem of the flax plant and it is 3 times stronger than normally used cotton.
Flax is used for many other purposes which include cooking, to extract oil from its seeds, and the by-product after oil extraction is used to feed livestock. One of the most important features of flax is that consuming flax seed can reduce body fat and has greater benefits for the woman and people with high cholesterol.
A study in 2014 indicated that the total flax production all over the world is almost 2.65 million tonnes annually and has have increased since then.
Here are the list world’s largest Flax producing countries.
Canada has dedicated about 750,000 hectares of land for flax cultivation. This country produces the majority of the Flax available on the global market. A part of the flax produced in this country is used to extract oil which is later used by the paint industry.
Flax produced in this country is used to manufacture papers for the cigarette.
Production in tonnes – 872,000
Kazakhstan is the 2nd largest producer of flax in the world. This country exports 46% of its total flax produced to Europe. Poland and China are the other two main countries that import flax from Kazakhstan. This country cultivates flax mainly for extracting the oil from its seed and is expected to increase the area under cultivation to increase the production.
Production in tonnes – 419,957
China is the 3rd largest producer of flax in the world. The world’s largest populated country has been growing flax for more than 90 years; however, this country has been using oil from flax seeds for more than 2000 years. This country uses flax for manufacturing linen cloth material and has the world’s largest linen fabric manufacturing plant. Flax production in this country is the major supporting fiber source; however, the flax fiber straw yield is just half of the European flax fiber.
Production in tonnes – 387,088
The USSR was once the world’s largest producer of flax, however, the flax industry collapsed as USSR collapsed. 70% of flax was produced by Ivanovo and couldn’t recover after the collapse. But, today the Russian government has taken measures to increase the production of flax in the nation and it is the 4th largest producer of flax. This country is now rebuilding its flax industry by inviting investors to invest in flax production and linen manufacturing.
Production in tonnes – 365,088
5. United States of America
Flax production in the United States of America began before colonization. By the 17th and 18th century production increased. Today the USA is the 5th largest producer of Flax. Majority of the flax produced by this nation is grown in North Dakota. A part of flax cultivated in this nation is used to produce oil and the by-products are used to feed the livestock. This country also manufactures linen, furniture padding, and cigarette paper.
Production in tonnes – 161,750
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India is the 6th largest producer of flax in the world. Majority of the flax cultivated in India is used for oil and for source material for the manufacturing of paints, printing ink, and varnish etc. The linen industry in India does not use the flax produced in India, but, export the raw materials from Europe because the quality of the Indian grown flax does not match European quality standards of flax. However, Chandra Shekhar Azad University of Agriculture & Technology (CSAUAT) has produced dual purpose flax that can be used for both oil and fiber and matches the European quality flax.
Production in tonnes – 141,000
France is the 7th largest producer of flax in the world. However, this country has a reputation for producing one the world’s best quality flax in just 55,000 hectares of flax cultivated land. France along with the Soviet Union were the largest producers of flax once but collapsed with the end of world war.
Production in tonnes – 64,000
Ukraine is the 8th largest producer of flax in the world. Studies indicate that the flax production in this country has been increasing since annually since 2011. This country has an average yield of 10-12 hundred kg of flax per hectare area cultivated in Ukraine. Ukraine has notably intensified the processing of their flax seed by 15% and this is much greater than the past years. Vietnam and Poland are two of the main importers of flax from Ukraine.
Production in tonnes –25,000
Argentina is the 9th largest producer of flax in the world. But, once, Argentina had flax production more than nations like India and Russia. However, their production started collapsing since 1999. Today, the majority of the flax cultivated in Argentina is exported as linseed oil. The quantity of production is expected to increase in future as they have implemented more efficient cultivation methods.
Production in tonnes – 16,000
Italy is the 10th largest producer of flax in the world. Cultivation of flax in Italy is very old. This country compared to other countries has low quantity production. However, Italy is one of the 3 main producers of world’s best quality flax. The Flax cultivated in Italy has high global demand.
Production in tonnes – 15,300
All the data mentioned above under each country were collected from various sources. The actual production quantity may vary. Hope this article helped you