Flaxseed Market Update – April 2024

Flaxseed Seeds in Kazakhstan

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Flaxseed Market Overview

In our latest Flaxseed Market Update, we focus on the EU’s plan to impose duty on imported agricultural products from Russia and Belarus. This has caused confusion among flaxseed exporters. Over the past two weeks, prices have gone up, making things uncertain for the industry. We’ll also examine Kazakhstan and Canada to better understand the global flaxseed market.

EU To Impose Tariffs On Grain Imports From Russia

The European Commission proposed to increase the tariffs on imports into the EU of cereals, oilseeds, and other derived products from Russia and Belarus [1]. Depending on the product, the tariffs will rise to either €95 per ton, or to a duty of 50%. European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, said:

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We propose the imposition of tariffs on these Russian imports to mitigate the growing risk to our markets. They will reduce Russia’s capacity to exploit the EU for the benefit of its war machine. And we maintain our commitment to preserving global food security, especially for developing countries. We are striking the right balance between supporting our economy and farming communities. At the same time, we maintain our unyielding support for Ukraine

The increased tariffs would also apply to Belarus in light of the country’s close political and economic ties to Russia. Furthermore, by including Belarus, the EU aims to prevent Russia from bypassing the new tariffs, and exporting goods to the EU market through Belarus. New tariffs proposal shall be published on 17th April by EU.

Flaxseed Market Update April 2024
Golden Flaxseeds in Bulk

Tariff Proposal: EU Flaxseed Sector on High Alert

Contrary to what EU propose, EU based flaxseed industry is worried about Europe tightening the restrictive measures against Russia.

The flaxseed processing sector cautions that imposing a 50% import tariff would constrain the competitiveness of European flax processing industry. This could pave the way for industries in Russia, Kazakhstan, and China to dominate Europe’s position as the leading flaxseed oil producer. Such move would contradict the European Commission’s goal of fostering an industrial renaissance in Europe.

Flaxseed serves as a common ingredient in various foods and animal feeds, as well as finds uses in paints, linoleum, and other products. However, the European Union faces a significant challenge due to its heavy reliance on flaxseed imports.

According to Belgian News Agency: with an annual requirement exceeding 700 000 tonnes, the EU is only 15% self-sufficient with flax. Additionally, Russia, which supplies over 60% of EU imports, has emerged as the world’s largest flaxseed producer [2].

Russia’s Ambitious Flaxseed Plans for 2024/25

Areas dedicated to oil crops are projected to expand by 200,000-350,000 hectares during the agricultural season of 2024-2025 in Russia. According to estimates from the Agricultural Market Studies Institute, while sowing areas for sunflower are expected to decrease, those for soybeans, rapeseed, and flaxseed are anticipated to increase significantly [3].

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“The season of 2024 is not about the recovery of sowing areas under main oil crops in the country (sunflower, soybeans, rapeseed, flax and safflower). We believe that there will be growth highly likely in the season of 2024-2025 for almost all oil crops. Perhaps with the exception of one crop probably – sunflower,” the expert said.

This change is yet to strengthen Russia’s position as the top flaxseed producer globally. Boosting its role in the international flaxseed market.

Flaxseed Market Update April 2024
Flaxseed Market Update

Kazakhstan’s Flaxseed Harvest Shrinks in 2023

Kazakhstan ranks among the top three flaxseed suppliers worldwide, with its market share rising from 11% to 28% between 2013 and 2022. As per official statistics, the 2023 flax harvest in Kazakhstan stood at a mere 361 thousand tonnes. This represents a decrease of 2.33 times compared to the 2022 figure of 845 thousand tonnes [4].

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Kazakhstan finds itself in competition with Russia for exports, especially as Russia has ramped up flaxseed production in the past two years. This surge has seen Russia surpass Kazakhstan and secure its position as a leading exporter to major markets like China and the European Union, both for flaxseed and flaxseed oil.

A Window of Opportunity for Canadian Flaxseed Growers?

The European Commission’s proposal to impose higher tariffs on cereals and oilseeds from Russia and Belarus could potentially shift the EU’s focus back to Canadian flaxseed supplies. This shift may lead to increased demand for Canadian flaxseed, consequently boosting prices.

However, flaxseed harvest declined this year, with Canadian growers intending to plant in 2024 the smallest crop since 1949. Despite the recent rally in flax prices, some farmers remain hesitant to commit to planting linseeds due to other more profitable crops, such as canola.

The proposed tariffs by the European Commission on Russian and Belarusian agricultural goods present a potential opportunity for Canadian flaxseed growers. With the EU possibly turning to Canadian supplies, there’s a chance for increased demand and higher prices for Canadian flaxseed.

Flaxseed Market Summary

The European Commission’s idea to raise tariffs on imports from Russia and Belarus has worried the EU flaxseed industry. While it’s meant to support Ukraine, with countries like Poland and Baltic countries also backing tariffs. There’s a worry it could harm European flaxseed industry and will cause more harm than good.

Importers are worried that if the proposed tariff goes up to 50% of the invoice price, it will increase flax price again. In the last two weeks, prices have already gone up by about €100 per ton. Adding to concerns long truck lines at the EU borders and import wait times almost tripling in the past 2 weeks.

While other exporters such as Kazakhstan or Canada could potentially fill the EU market demand, prices are unlikely to drop soon given current conditions. Moreover, their own issues with declining production in recent years add to the challenge. It’s hard to believe they could quickly meet the EU’s needs.


  1. “Commission proposes increased tariffs on Russian and Belarusian grain products” available at:
    https://neighbourhood-enlargement.ec.europa.eu/news/commission-proposes-increased-tariffs-russian-and-belarusian-grain-products-2024-03-22_en (accessed on April 11, 2024).
  2. “Flaxseed industry concerned about import tariffs on Russia” available at:
    https://www.belganewsagency.eu/flaxseed-industry-concerned-about-import-tariffs-on-russia (accessed on April 11, 2024).
  3. “Russia to increase oil crop areas in 2024” available at:
    https://tass.com/society/1754473 (accessed on April 11, 2024).
  4. “Flaxseed crisis: Kazakhstan’s harvest falls 2.3 times lower than normal” available at:
    https://www.apk-inform.com/en/news/1539651 (accessed on April 11, 2024).


Piotr Goral Post Picture

Piotr Góral

Co-Founder of Seedea


+48 500 831 909

For many years, together with his small team, he has been boosting the sales of Polish family companies that supply food ingredients (mainly organic) to different foreign markets. His role involves creating new business projects and managing sales. He loves visiting suppliers and farmers during his travels, gathering valuable information that he shares through his articles.

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