Canada investing in flax and hemp research

Canada investing in flax and hemp research

The Government of Canada is funding new market opportunities for flax and hemp farmers.

The Government of Canada is investing in innovation that will help create new bio-composites derived from flax and hemp fibres. Member of Parliament Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, today announced an investment of more than $100,000 for the Composites Innovation Centre (CIC) to study flax and hemp fibres with the goal of eventually making composites that perform better than plastics and fibreglass.

"Finding new and innovative uses for our flax and hemp will greatly benefit farmers and the economy in Western Canada," said MP Bruinooge. "This investment will enable farmers to adapt their growth and harvesting regimes to optimize fibre performance, increasing the demand for their crops and resulting in increased profitability."

The investment through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) is designed to help the CIC work with Canadian Light Source's synchrotron facility in Saskatoon to study the sub-molecular structure of flax and hemp fibres. The synchrotron is a source of brilliant light that enables scientists to study the micro-structure and chemical properties of materials.

"This exciting collaboration between the CIC and our world-class Canadian synchrotron facility will provide our local and national biomass industries with a key competitive edge in a growing international marketplace," says CIC Manager of Product Innovation Simon Potter. "The information we generate with the Canadian Light Source will support the high penetration of agricultural fibres into building materials and composites for automotive and aerospace products."

"The Canadian Light Source welcomes this opportunity to work with Manitoba's burgeoning bio-composite sector on a project that will not only benefit Manitoba, but fibre growers throughout Western Canada and manufacturers around the world," says Jeffrey Cutler, the synchrotron's deputy director and director of industrial science.

This project is being funded under the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Manitoba, CAAP is delivered by the Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council (MRAC). CAAP is a five-year (2009-2014), $163-million initiative that aims to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive.

The Next Phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan, coupled with other Government of Canada programs and initiatives such as CAAP, continues to help farmers by focusing on creating jobs and strengthening the economy. Investments in new and emerging market opportunities will help build an even stronger agriculture industry and Canadian economy for the future.

For more information on CAAP, please visit


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