Fibre plants in the EU
In the European Union (EU), two fibre plants are being cultivated (apart from cotton in Greece and Spain): flax and hemp.
France and Belgium are the most relevant cultivation countries. By far the largest part of flax production is done in a traditional manner: production of high-quality flax long fibre for the clothing textile industry, however, 60 to 80% thereof are exported to China for processing. Simultaneously, flax short fibre (tow) does emerge as by-product here that is used for textiles, composites, insulation material and pulp & paper.
Detailed data provided by the “European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA)“
The areas under hemp cultivation have remained relatively constant in recent years. The data presented in the following are based on up-to-date market surveys that have been conducted by the “European Industrial Hemp Associaton (EIHA)” between 2001 and 2004.
In the European Union (EU), there are presently about 15 to 20 companies which are engaged in the primary processing of hemp. While in Eastern Europe the traditional processing line with water retting and long fibre separation partially is still being practised – by means of which also spinnable long fibre qualities can be produced – in the “old” EU member states, solely field retting and total fibre line are applied. In Italy, however, projects are running for processing hemp in the same way as flax – in the textile long fibre line.
The leading European primary processors of hemp, for the most part EIHA members, constitute the survey basis for the following data on cultivation, production and product lines.
Source: EIHA-Report March 08, 2005.