27 Jun 2022

Wool productives investment aims to have impact on new markets

10:57 am on 27 June 2022

The government is backing a plan to help grow the strong wool sector by investing in new product categories and new international markets.


New products will open up more diverse markets. Photo: 123rf

Wool Impact is a three-year project to help grow export revenue for wool - it was set up earlier this year based on the 2021 recommendations of the Strong Wool Action Group.

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.

Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor said the government was backing the plan with $4.5 million from the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund.

The wool sector is contributing $6.9 million.

O'Connor said it would be fantastic to see strong wool becoming our first choice of fibre in homes, schools and businesses.

"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."

There are so many great uses for strong wool and now is the time for consumers and businesses to make the most of the great natural fibre, he said.

"As consumers turn more towards products made with care for people and place, New Zealand can play a leading role in supplying this wonderful fibre to the world."

But O'Connor said 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.

"Around the world I want designers, procurement managers, landlords and homeowners seeing value in wool - not cost. And I want to see sheep farmers investing in rams for wool production. Those will be the metrics of this project's success."