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Wool industry will bounce back with research consortium
12
Jan '11
The Government has announced the investment of $17.25 million over five years in a wool research consortium tasked with lifting the economic return of the wool industry.

The announcement was made by Research, Science and Technology Minister Wayne Mapp and Agriculture Minister David Carter.

“The Government's investment in this consortium demonstrates its ongoing commitment to this important industry,” say the Ministers.

“The success of the strong wool sector hinges on developing new uses and markets for the industry – and with the growers themselves realising its full potential,” says Mr Carter.

“We are committed to growing New Zealand's export earnings from wool fibre, and from value-added wool products developed through market-led research programmes,” Dr Mapp says.

The consortium participants are the Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand Inc (WRInc), and other New Zealand industry stakeholders. Key providers will include AgResearch and New Zealand universities.

Dr Mapp says the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology will contribute $8.6m over five years. This amount will be matched by WRInc and industry stakeholders.

“The wool industry is collaborating across the value chain to address key research questions, and the Government is supporting them,” says Dr Mapp.

Mr Carter says increased research and development for the wool sector was one of the key recommendations of his Wool Taskforce, which presented its report last year.

“The Wool Research Organisation's constructive engagement through the Wool Unity Group has shown what can be achieved by better cohesion and co-operation within the wool industry,” Mr Carter says.

The consortium research strategy has three research and development themes that reflect the industry's needs:

• securing wool's position as a sustainable, natural fibre
• applying new technology to address historical obstacles to wool's use and performance (e g fade and insect susceptibility that put wool at a disadvantage compared to synthetics)
• finding new added-value uses that exploit wool's positive intrinsic characteristics.

New Zealand Government

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