AWI defends its marketing strategies

29 Sep, 2012 02:00 AM
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AWI's Stuart McCullough.
AWI's Stuart McCullough.

AUSTRALIAN Wool Innovation (AWI) chief executive officer Stuart McCullough has hit back at comments from the Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) which stated wool growers were tired of AWI preaching the benefits of levy-funded marketing when prices were good but being nowhere to be found when it fell.

He said the comments were unfair and untrue and indicated all evidence pointed to the contrary.

"AWI is continually pushing marketing strategies to create demand for Australian wool and undertaking research and development which directly impacts growers," Mr McCullough said.

"By the end of this week we would have held seven wool-grower forums and I have done two other independent talks to all of the Primaries' brokers as well as a briefing to WAFarmers."

Mr McCullough said while it was PGA's right to recommend whatever it wanted and it was the growers right to vote whichever way they wanted, AWI just wanted growers to vote.

"We are recommending two per cent," he said.

"We know the business and the needs of the markets both here and abroad and we think we can return that 2pc to growers.

"But really we just want them to vote - we want them to read all the literature and make an informed decision."

AWI held meetings in Merredin, Darkan and Jerramungup last week and while the grower turnout in Merredin was disappointing, Mr McCullough said they were happy with the overall response in WA.

He recognised it had been a tough year for wool growers but was pleased to discuss issues growers had at the meetings.

Mr McCullough said shearing and wool prices were the two big talking points for WA wool producers.

"It is fresh in everyone's minds that the market indicator has gone below 1000 cents per kilogram," he said.

"What we can only say is that there has been two pretty good years of wool prices followed by two pretty bad months but we are not happy with them either."

Mr McCullough also said the 60:40 marketing, research split had been largely discussed and the response throughout the country was varied.

"We are confident that the right move is to swing the needle from 50:50 to 60:40," he said.

"It is a modest move and we believe it will support the business nicely, especially in the extra marketing activities in China.

"In terms of research and development, the dollars spent will actually go up so growers can rest easy."

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