Sunday, August 14, 2022

Government backs strong wool growth

The Government is adding funding to a new venture with industry partners to revitalise export returns strong wool.

Wool Impact is a collaboration between the Government and sheep sector partners under the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund.

The $11.4 million, three-year programme sees sector partners contributing $6.9 million on top of the Government’s $4.5m investment.

O’Connor says Wool Impact’s purpose is to facilitate innovation and investment, support demand growth, boost sector services, and enable a unified voice for strong wool in New Zealand. 

Its formation is based on the 2021 recommendations of the Strong Wool Action Group.

“It would be fantastic to see strong wool becoming our first choice of fibre in our homes, schools and businesses,” Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says.

“Wool Impact is charged with making it a compelling and affordable alternative to synthetic fibres, and reversing the significant under-investment of the past three decades. This has resulted in poor returns for growers and others across the supply chain. Urgent action is needed.”

O’Connor says there are so many uses for strong wool ranging from carpets, insulation and acoustic panels to more recent developments in deconstructed wool particles, powders and pigments.

“Now is the time for consumers and businesses to make the most of this great natural fibre.”

He says New Zealand’s renewed strong wool success would only be possible if the wider sector got behind new initiatives.

“There’s no single idea or government policy to solve the wool sector’s problems. We need a collaborative approach, and Wool Impact is the catalyst to make this happen.”

Wool Impact’s sector partners are currently WoolWorks, the Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand (WRONZ), and meat companies Affco, Anzco, Alliance, Progressive Meats, and Silver Fern Farms.

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