Growing interest in processing wool and natural fibres onshore

Terry Sim April 23, 2021

Merino top processed at Cashmere Connections in Bacchus Marsh.

A SURGE in the number of sheep, goat and alpaca producers wanting to add value to their fibre in Australia has prompted a unique online event next month.

The Australian Fibre Collective on 13 May will host ‘The Bale and Beyond’ for fibre producers wanting to add value to their clip.

AFC president and Cashmere Connections co-owner at Bacchus Marsh Trisha Esson said there was very strong interest in producers wanting to add value to their fibre, but many “start at the wrong end.”

“If they are looking at value-adding their product – their wool, cashmere, mohair or alpaca – they really have to have a final product in mind, but so many of them haven’t thought it through.

“The idea of this to try to help people not make mistakes,” he said.

“They’ve got to have an end-product in mind and an end-product they can market.

“The idea of this is to help people get through the supply chain successfully with a product that they can sell.”

She said several producers spent money on processing their fibre without having an end-product in mind or knowing whether they can market it profitably. Some wool growers also want to make a product their wool is not suitable for.

The online event will feature key industry leaders who successfully process and market their products domestically. They will include The Lucky Ewe owner Rowena Butler talking about ‘Fit for Purpose’, Ms Esson on supply chain issues, Wendy Beer from Beersheba Farm on classing for success and Julie Cameron from Meredith Dairy on marketing.

Ms Esson said there was some interest on domestic value-adding of natural fibres before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But there is a lot more interest now.

“The events of 2020 gave many people the opportunity to pause, take stock of their lives, to review the lifetime habits and routines into which they had fallen,” she said.

“As a result many have become more thoughtful consumers.

“The clothing sector in particular has come under scrutiny by a large number of consumers who are critical the sustainability of many of the clothes produced nowadays and of unethical work practices employed in the making of goods,” Ms Esson said.

“Hence many people are asking for product that has been made here in Australia, where the sustainability of natural fibre products and ethical work practices can be guaranteed.

“For many fibre producers, designers, textile artists and clothing marketers etc, it’s often not the case of not wanting to value add to textile products here in Australia that prevents them from doing so, but it is knowing just where and how to start.”

She said the Zoom Conference will explore how to successfully take a clip from the farm to the consumer without leaving Australia.

To obtain the Zoom link to the event email [email protected]


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