Wednesday, 03 August 2022 22:00

Call for government to intervene on China ban of SA wool.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Agri SA and the National Wool Growers' Association of SA (NWGA) call for government action to stop what they called the unwarranted, job-killing China export ban on South African wool.

China is South Africa's primary wool export market, accounting for about 70 percent of exports, in value terms.

In a joint statement issued by the two agricultural organisations, they said they were extremely concerned about the unjustifiable ban on wool exports to China due to recent Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreaks in parts of the country.

The first wool auction for the 2022/23 season was scheduled for August 17 and, with 70-80 percent of the South African clip traditionally destined for China, the ban would have a devastating effect on the local wool industry.

The value of the South Africa wool clip was around R5 billion per annum. Since the ban was announced in April, the South African wool industry has thus far lost an estimated R734 million in wool exports to China. The ban also threatens the livelihoods of the industry’s 35 000 workers as well as 4 500 seasonal sheep shearers and wool handlers.

According to the statement, failure to act would have devastating consequences for the industry's workers, and small-scale producers in particular.

"We are concerned about the emerging and communal wool producing sector in particular, as most of these [producers’] clips are destined for exporting to China.

The organisations said the auction date looming for the country’s wool, it was essential that Ministers Thoko Didiza and Ebrahim Patel intervene to secure the industry’s access to the Chinese market.

"Agri SA and NWGA can only trust that the South African authorities will make every effort to address this issue with the Chinese authorities as a matter of urgency. South African wool is safe for export, and we must resolve this matter quickly for the sake of the livelihoods on the line," the organisations said.