Wool Summit aims for unity and value

Farmers, brokers, scientists, fashion designers and familiar company brands meet in Wellington next week to thread together a stronger future for wool.

“When our primary sectors do well, New Zealand does well, and this Government is working alongside industry to develop sustainable and valuable pathways forward. We need to work smarter, not harder,” says Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor.

“Since the deregulation of wool in 1997 and the unsuccessful levy referendum in 2014, the industry has struggled with unity, a common vision and a strategic focus.

“Many in the industry are concerned this has hurt all parts of the value chain.

“At the summit, to be hosted by MPI on Monday 16 July, key players with experience and influence will unpick the current state of New Zealand’s wool industry, ask provocative questions and offer innovative solutions.

“The fall of wool came at a time of revenue growth for sheep meat, meaning farmers were focused on sheep and beef production rather than wool.

“Consumer trends are shaping our markets, with people buying products aligned to their social and environmental values. We must make the most of our unique natural advantages to grow value within resource limits.”

Last year New Zealand produced 7.5 per cent of the world’s wool volume with exports worth $522 million. Our meat and wool exports are worth $9.2 billion.

An advocate of the sustainable qualities of wool and a worldwide wool renaissance, The Prince of Wales has sent a message of support to be read at the summit.