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Wool auctions may stop due to export ban
Mar '11
South Africa's wool industry may be required to stop its weekly auctions for the time being.

Owing to the eruption of foot-and-mouth virus in livestock, the country has chosen to ban exports of all categories of cattle, pigs and sheep and their products.

Leading wool exporters opined that, there is no point in holding the auction when they could not export anything. The move would severely affect the domestic wool industry, they added.

The wool industry in the country is a source of livelihood for about 18,000 farmers, who with a combined flock of 14 million sheep produce around 50 million kg of wool, each year.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries based in Pretoria, on February 28 made an announcement that, it has banned the exports for a minimum of three months, after it found 300 animals in KwaZulu-Natal province infected with the virus.

Next to Australia, South Africa is the second-biggest wool producer in the world which caters to the global textile markets, with France, Italy, Japan and China being its prime export markets, the agricultural department revealed.

South Africa ships eighty percent of its overall wool production in raw form. Such untreated fibre, popularly known as Greasy wool, is unwashed and carry a high health risk quotient as compared to processed wool which is washed and combed.

South Africa exported 1.34 billion rand or $193 million worth of greasy wool during last season, while in the first half of the wool marketing season, it has exported 620 million rand worth of fibre.

A 36 percent rise has been witnessed in the prices of the South African wool since December, 2010.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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