Cape Wools SA is a service company and the executive arm of the Wool Industry Forum of South Africa. With mission to provide services in support of the development of a viable, competitive and sustainable future for the South African wool industry, it is a tax-exempt entity without share capital. It was established as an association on March 11, 1997, in terms of Section 21 of the Companies Act (Act 61 of 1973). The company’s Memorandum of Association declares its main business as the promotion of group interests involved in the production, trading and consumption of South African wool. An elected Board of Directors representing the various interest groups affiliated to the Wool Forum duly governs the company. Mr Geoff Kingwill is the Chairman of Cape Wools. Aged 47, Mr Kingwill qualified as a Mechanical Engineer at Stellenbosch University in 1983. He then worked for 6 years as an Engineer before returning to the family farming business in 1990. He is currently farming with merino sheep, angora goats and beef cattle in the Karoo which is a semi arid area in the center of South Africa. Mr Kingwill has been a past Chairman of the National Wool Growers Association in his province which is the Western Cape. He is also currently Chairman of the technical committee of Merino South Africa. He has been a Director of Cape Wools since 2005 and was handed Chairmanship since 2007. In a conversation with Face2Face team, Mr Geoff Kingwill draws larger picture of wool industry of South Africa.
Thanks for joining us on Face2Face channel, Mr Kingwill! We are glad to get opportunity to know more about South African wool industry. So, how significant is Wool industry for South Africa in economic context?
In large parts of rural South Africa the economy is agriculture based. In a significant part of these areas, farming with wool sheep is the main enterprise. As a result there are large areas where wool growing is a major economic driver for the local economy and has a significant socio economic impact.
That means Cape Wools in turn has to play a vital role in country's growth. Please apprise us about your association's activities in the interest of wool industry in South Africa?
Cape Wools is a non profit organization that is funded by a Wool Industry Trust. The 4 main services that Cape Wools provide to the industry are;
-Research and Development
-The promotion of production through a Production advisory service
-The collection and dissemination of statistical information about the South African industry
-Promoting the consumption of wool products
So, how do you view Wool industry faring these days, worldwide? And, in South Africa?
In most parts of the world the wool industry is under some strain. There are exceptions to this and China must be the most significant exception. As far as production is concerned most of the other Southern hemisphere countries that produce similar apparel wool to South Africa, are having a significant reduction in production. South Africa is however bucking this trend and this is because our wool growers have a significant income (between 60 and 75%) from meat and this has helped to keep our wool growing enterprises competitive with other possible farming enterprises.
Please also tell us the unique characteristics of SA Wool. To which all countries this Wool is exported?
South African produces mainly merino wool for use in the apparel industry. Cape wools as our South African wools are known are well known for the high standard of clip preparation. Our coefficient of variation of length is of the lowest in the world. Our merino wools also tend to be slightly over crimped which give them some unique spinning characteristics. As a result many spinners include a percentage of South African wool in their yarns to get the properties that they are after.
South African wool is sold to buyers all over the world with the main buyers being China with about 50% of the South African clip followed by Italy with about 15% and India and the Czech Republic with about 10% each.
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.