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Flaxseed: pandemic leaves its mark

July 22, 2020 11:22 AM, Der AUDITOR
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OTTAWA/NUR-SULTAN. Despite the smaller acreage, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada expects flaxseed prices to fall in the coming season. Meanwhile, flaxseed exports from Kazakhstan fell to their lowest level since the beginning of the year.

Rise in crop is still possible

Experts still reckon that a larger area can be harvested than in 2019 and that there will be less shrinkage, so that flaxseed production could increase to 512,000 metric tonnes, up 5% on last year. In contrast, the export forecasts for the 2020/2021 season seem rather optimistic, because Canadian exporters will have to struggle even harder with Kazakhstan as China's new trading partner. Market prices are expected to vary between CAD 490-530 per metric tonne EXW.

Flaxseed, Canada

2018/19 vs. 2019/20

2019/20 vs. 2020/21

Tilled

347,000

379,000

9.2%

379,000

369,000

-2.6%

Harvested

342,000

339,000

-0.9%

339,000

344,000

1.5%

Yield (mt/ha)

1.44

1.43

-0.7%

1.43

1.49

4.2%

Production

492,000

486,000

-1.2%

486,000

512,000

5.3%

Imports

9,000

15,000

66.7%

15,000

10,000

-33.3%

Total stocks

628,000

561,000

-10.7%

561,000

592,000

5.5%

Exports

468,000

350,000

-25.2%

350,000

450,000

28.6%

Domestic consumption

100,000

141,000

41.0%

141,000

42,000

-70.2%

Overhang stocks

60,000

70,000

16.7%

70,000

100,000

42.9%

avg price in CAD/mt

496

520

4.8%

520

510

-1.9%

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Weak export performance

According to the Kazakh statistical service, flaxseed exports in May fell to 30,000 metric tonnes, the lowest level since the beginning of the year and the second lowest in the 2019/2020 season, and a total of around 462,000 metric tonnes of flaxseed was exported from Kazakhstan between September 2019 and May 2020. Experts explain the decline with the drop in demand caused by the pandemic. On the European spot market, prices for brown flaxseed with a 99.9% purity currently range at EUR 0.58 per kg DDP Germany, the new crop is offered from EUR 0.56 per kg DDP.

Flaxseed, Eastern Europe

Quality

EUR/kg

Brown, 99.9%, 2019 crop

0.580

Yellow, 99.9%, 2019 crop

0.770

Brown, 99.9%, 2020 crop

0.560

DDP Germany

Haloxyfop limits should be adapted

Meanwhile, the Association of the Oilseed Processing Industry in Germany (OVID) is campaigning for the reassessment of the haloxyfop limit for linseed. Currently, this corresponds to the analytical detection limit (0.01 mg/kg). "We observe that political decisions are moving away from proper risk assessments. This disrupts the basic principle of risk-based food safety, puts a strain on the investment climate and endangers jobs. In order to maintain the supply of flaxseed in food and feed and its use as a renewable commodity, we call on the European Parliament to approve the EFSA proposal, supported by the EU Commission and member states, to establish an import tolerance for haloxyfop in linseed," said OVID Managing Director Dr. Gerhard Brankatschk.

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