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Kazakhstan Linseed Exports to Surge, Oil World Forecasts

Tuesday 13 March 2012

PARIS (Bloomberg) – Linseed exports from Kazakhstan and Russia are forecast to jump in the year through July after production in Canada slumped following contamination with genetically modified crops, researcher Oil World said.

Russian linseed exports are forecast to climb 84% to 280,000 metric tons from 152,000 tons in 2010-11 and 71,000 tons in 2009-10, while Kazakhstan’s shipments will more than triple to 200,000 tons from 60,000 tons in 2010-11 and 30,000 tons two years ago, the Hamburg-based researcher said in a weekly report released today.

Canadian exports of linseed, or flaxseed, to the European Union, the biggest buyer, slumped after the bloc in 2009 found shipments with unauthorized genetically modified seed. Canada’s exports of the oilseed slumped to 359,000 tons last year from 705,000 tons in 2010, according to Oil World.

Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine are forecast to jointly export 510,000 tons of linseed in the year through July, more than double the 237,000 tons a year earlier and compared with about 1,000 tons a decade ago, according to Oil World.

Traditionally, linseed has been grown for its oil, which is used in the manufacture of paints, varnishes and linoleum, because of its drying and hardening properties when exposed to the air and sunlight. Breeders have also produced linseed varieties that give oils with fatty acid profiles that make them suitable for culinary uses. This is because these linola types containing a high proportion of linoleic acid and a low proportion of linolenic acid, have the appropriate stability and shelf life that the industrial types lack. Tests have indicated that these also have a range of industrial applications including specialist oils and inks.

A growing market has been identified for whole seed linseed, in baking and in health foods and for this the traditional “high linolenic” varieties are suitable, as it is only their extracted oil that lacks the keeping qualities for culinary use. There is a market for linseed meal as animal feed, also poultry feed as it increases levels of omega 3 fatty acid in eggs. Whole seed is used in the baking and confectionery industries where its health benefits are recognised. Linseed straw also has application in biomass energy burners.

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