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Strides by Gqeberha-based wool and mohair industry key for economic diversification

Home Agriculture Strides by Gqeberha-based wool and mohair industry key for economic diversification

Gqeberha-based Cape Wools South Africa and Mohair South Africa were praised by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality executive mayor, Retief Odendaal, for their impressive international growth that plays a critical part in the diversification of the local economy.

Often affectionately referred to as the Detroit of South Africa due to global manufacturing giants such as Volkswagen SA, Isuzu SA, Ford and lately Chinese car manufacturers calling the region home, the diversification of the local economy is important to create jobs and increase economic growth.

Mayor Odendaal made these remarks following the visit of an Italian delegation as part of the Fashion Bridges initiative aimed at improving trade relations between Italian and South African businesses.

Mohair South Africa’s Jackie Gant said at a networking session that local Angora goat farmers produce 51% of the global mohair market share (of which 90% is produced in the Eastern Cape) due to the ideal local Karoo weather conditions favouring Angora goat flock farming.

She explained that mohair is a niche fibre catering for a niche market segment.

“Nelson Mandela Bay is truly the global mohair capital with the largest mohair spinner in the world in Kariega and another in Gqeberha not far behind, 80% of our produce is channelled through the ports of Ngqura and Port Elizabeth of which 70% is exported to Italy and China,” Gant said.

Most of the rest of the world’s mohair is imported into Gqeberha and processed at Gubb & Inngs (part of the Stucken Group) in Kariega and Samil Processing near King Williams Town from where it is exported.

General manager of Cape Wools SA, Deon Saayman, told the delegation that Cape Wools South Africa’s contribution to the international wool market is recognised as sustainably certified produce, positioning South African wool favourably in the international market.

“Almost 37% of the South African wool market emanates from the Eastern Cape which makes Gqeberha the wool capital of South Africa.

“We have 8 000 commercial farmers and 45 000 communal farmers producing 42 million kilograms of wool annually, with between 70 and 80% of the wool clip exported to China,” Saayman said.

Both Mohair South Africa and Cape Wools SA played a significant role over the last decade to transform their respective industries by improving the yield from black farmers.

Odendaal said it is important that the transformational agenda at these companies be commended as they not only bring new entrants to the market, they are also increasing their market share globally.

“Mohair SA established ten emerging mohair enterprises through its empowerment arm, The Empowerment Trust under the management of Beauty Mokgwamme. These entities contribute 13 000 kilograms of mohair to the clip.

“Similarly, is the wool yield of the thousands of communal farmers from the former Transkei and Ciskei areas.

“The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has an important role to play to ensure that a conducive environment exists for local businesses to compete in the marketplace.

“We are open for business and are looking at ways to ensure that business approvals become seamless in our city,” Mayor Odendaal added.

Between 800 and 900 commercial farmers produce mohair with approximately 30 000 people benefiting from this niche fibre. The Fashion Bridges ingenuity was initiated by the Italian Embassy based in Johannesburg.

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