Package helps push pastoral wool

06 Jan, 2001 03:00 PM
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FIVE woolgrower groups from the southern rangelands will benefit from a $260,000 support package designed to help capture a market for lightweight lambs' wool fabric. The Mt Magnet-based Rangelands Fibre and Produce, Murchison Outback Producers, the Yalgoo and Goldfields Bestprac groups and Brett and Helen Pollock, Wooleen Station, will share the package, made available through the Gascoyne Murchison Strategy (GMS) and Agriculture Western Australia. Announcing the package, Primary Industry Minister Monty House said the funding would help commercialise recent wool processing trials with fabric merchant Drummonds ‹ a specialty supplier to UK retailer Marks and Spencer which has great interest in WA wool. "The pastoral wool groups have been working with Drummonds, with assistance from Agriculture WA's wool service desk, in developing a supply chain or Eco-wool," he said. "That is wool grown on sheep that have been grown on rangelands, which are free from herbicides and fertiliser, and have no pesticide residues. "The lightweight lambs' wool fabric made from the pastoral wool involved in the trail received great interest earlier this year when displayed at the Premier Vision fabric fair in France." The package includes $100,000 from the GMS towards purchasing pastoral wool for the project, in addition to in-kind technical support valued at $75,000 from the wool service desk to develop a business plan and a regional branding venture to promote products from the southern rangelands. Mr House said the GMS grant, spread over the next three years, would help build the foundations for the rangelands wool groups to establish a solid wool supply business. "The downturn in the wool industry has stimulated producers, like those in the southern rangelands, and others to become more innovative and pursue niche markets for their unique product," he said. "There is great potential for this initiative, with a turnaround in the wool market this year and an increasing awareness, particularly among European consumers, about the use of chemicals and animal welfare associated with garment production." ÿ

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