Stemergy: Renewable Fibre Technology

Canadian Government Invests $4 Million for New Flax Products

13 April 2007

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, – James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk– Interlake, on behalf of the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today announced a $4 million investment towards the Flax Canada 2015 Phase II, an industry-government initiative to support the commercialization of innovative flax products into existing and new markets. “Canada's New Government strongly supports the development and commercializetion of bioproducts,” said MP Bezan. “This investment will help create and expand new market opportunities for Canadian flax farmers, who are the largest producers and exporters of flax in the world.”

The Flax Canada 2015 Phase II Initiative will be managed by Flax Canada 2015 Inc., a national non-profit organization based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The organization is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Flax Council of Canada. “Flaxseed is one of the major oilseed crops in Manitoba and carries significant potential for increased demand from the food sector and consumers because of its health benefits,” said Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk. “Encouraging innovation will build on this demand, increasing market value and providing a better return on investment for producers.”

"With Flax Canada 2015 we are going to combine Canadian innovation, good farmers and unique climate to create valuable new & better solutions for the human health, nutrition and bioproducts industries," said Eric Fridfinnson, Vice-Chair of Flax Canada 2015 Inc. "We intend to put 'Flax First' in a healthier diet for Canadians and consumers around the world."

The Flax Canada 2015 Phase II Initiative is a partnership between the federal and provincial governments and industry to increase innovation across the value chain. Over the next 10 years, the Flax Canada 2015 Initiative will enhance current and develop new uses for flax in four areas: human and animal health, fibre and industrial use. The goal is to increase the value of flax crops to $1.5 billion from its current value of $300 million through research, innovation and commercialization.

The Flax Canada 2015 Phase II Initiative funding from AAFC falls under the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), Science and Innovation Agri-Innovation Program.

BACKGROUNDER

The Flax Canada 2015 Phase II Initiative is a unique undertaking established to identify and exploit new opportunities for flax, with a goal of achieving a $1.5 billion farm-gate value by the year 2015. It will increase the value of flax by making it an important component of the preventative approach to human and animal health. It will also support the sector by developing a strategy for total utilization of flax, for food, feed, fibre, health and industrial uses.

Flax is a multi-purpose plant with the ability to generate numerous benefits to Canadians through health, environmental and industrial sustainability. The plant contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acid, fibre and lignane, which are essential nutrients to human health and wellness. Flax also contains linseed oil which provides manufacturers with high quality and environmentally friendly alternatives to chemical industrial products.

Flax Canada 2015 Phase I received funding for two years (2004-2006) under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), Science and Innovation Broker Program. Support for the Flax Canada 2015 Initiative has also been provided by the provincial governments of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Flax Council of Canada, the Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission, and others.

Flax Canada 2015 Phase II Initiatives, which were identified as a result of the strategic planning carried out under Phase I, run for two years (2006-2008). These initiatives cross five sectors: human health, animal health, fibre uses, industrial applications, breeding and production.

Source: Flax 2015, Government of Canada, Province of Manitoba

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Stemergy bio-fiber is focused on producing and supplying renewable bio-fibres - derived from annual stem fiber plants such as flax and hemp - to the expanding global bio-fiber marketplace.