Flax, a 100% French crop?

8 Europeans out of 10 do not know where flax is produced. Is it exclusively French? Why are the crops concentrated in this geographical area? Is the textile industry the main development sector for linen? All about this still (too) unknown fiber.

The world's leading producer of linen is France

After a decline during the 19th century, see the article on the history of flaxthe cultivation of flax is back on its feet after the Second World War. Flemish farmers settled in the north of France and revived French production. Today, more than 80% of the flax produced in the world comes from European crops. Of which 60% comes from France. Note that most Europeans are unaware of this! For more than half of the people questioned in a survey by the European Confederation of Flax and Hemp, flax is produced outside Europe. And a third of those surveyed imagine Asian production.

A favorable climate for the cultivation of flax

Flax is the only vegetable textile fiber native to the continent! The climate of the coastal strip of Western Europe, stretching from the south of Normandy to the Netherlands, is particularly favorable to its cultivation. This explains why the vast majority of the world's production is found there. France is the main actor, followed by Belgium and the Netherlands. The cultivation of flax requires a mild oceanic climate with alternating rain and sun. Note that the cultivation of flax has an almost zero environmental footprint. Its irrigation does not require any external water supply.

Is flax used only in the textile sector?

Textiles represent 90% of the linen market, divided between clothing and household linen, with 60% and 30% of production. What about the remaining 10%?

In addition to the food sector, the qualities of flax are of increasing interest to industry. It could even become a green alternative to oil. Several research programs are being set up to take advantage of the plant's virtues. In the aeronautical sector, for example, flax has been used by the French army for helicopter parts. Its good resistance to fire makes it a particularly interesting material. But other products made of flax fiber are already on the market. Sports equipment such as motorcycle helmets or tennis rackets, for example, in which the vibration-absorbing properties of flax are used.

The market for flax is growing steadily and that's good! It supports more than 8000 farmers in France and contributes to sustainable development.

See morearticles on linen and discover our collections of bed linen, curtains, table linen, clothing and fabric by the meter made from 100% French linen.