ANIMAL welfare, biosecurity, competition for land use and labour shortages have been identified as key issues by the International Wool Textiles Organisation’s Grower Forum, under the leadership of WoolProducers Australia chief executive officer Jo Hall.
The IWTO Grower’s Forum is an international forum for wool growing countries and provides a platform for the global production sector to exchange ideas and discuss issues that are common to all growers.
Ms Hall was appointed the chair of the IWTO forum last month at a 22June virtual meeting. Wool Industries Australia, as the Australian member of the IWTO, nominated Ms Hall for the role and this was accepted by other grower country members.
WoolProducers president Ed Storey said WoolProducers are proud of the acknowledgment of Ms Hall’s dedication and passion to the industry at the domestic and international levels.
“For this meeting, along with the country specific reports, I requested each country to provide the top three issues currently affecting their producers in order to gain commonality between countries, which in turn can be progressed as a global production sector,” Ms Hall said.
“Having been secretary for this forum for a number of years, I believe that we can make this a more active forum to progress issues, both internally through IWTO as well as other external processes such as relevant public consultations,” she said.
“There were a number of issues raised, including emissions trading schemes, Responsible Wool Standard demand, COVID impacts and trade agreements; however, the four predominant areas identified were animal welfare, biosecurity, competition for land use and labour shortages.
“This meeting was to identify the issues to progress, with a number of these issues being flagged to be fed into existing IWTO Working Groups, however there will be further refinement on how to action these issues going forward.”
Grower member countries represented at the forum’s June meeting included Australia, the Falkland Islands, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.
“It’s a great opportunity for international growers to provide a single voice on issues such as biosecurity, animal welfare, competition for land use and labour shortages, which historically has not been the case, with production countries often competing against each other to gain commercial advantage, particularly with regard to animal welfare,” Ms Hall said.
“Quite frankly, we as producers operate in too small of a market to be cannibalising each other on a global stage and we need to start working together to promote the wonderful attributes of wool.”
Ms Hall said the growers forum meets face-to-face on an annual basis; however, the IWTO working groups meet more frequently. The next growers forum is scheduled for the IWTO Conference next year, but work will continue out of session, she said.
The IWTO is recognised by the industry as the global authority for standards in the wool textile industry since 1930. It has members from 22 countries encompassing the wool pipeline ‘from sheep to shop’ and represents the interests of the world’s wool textile trade at the international level.