Sheep on the green grass


South Africa is a vast and beautiful country with a rich history of sheep and wool farming. This long history has established woolgrowers who have a keen appreciation of how to care for their animals and the environment. As a result, the industry consistently generates a high quality, environmentally sound product for international markets. The first Merino sheep arrived at the Cape in 1789, and the sheep and wool industry on a commercial basis was soon established.

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The Wool Market

Cape Wools Weekly Market Report Port Elizabeth - The last wool sale before the Christmas recess took place today, with a large offering of 13 791 bales, of which 60% consisted of fine micron merino wools

A large volume of 4 574 bales were withdrawn prior to the sale, with a very good sales clearance of 98,2 % achieved on the bales actually offered. After a slow start on the first day, the market improved throughout the sale to close 1,6% up to close on R144,33p/kg. The Australian market also started off in the red on the first day, but experienced better demand on the second day of the sale, to close 1,04% (AU$) down for the week.

The rand traded slightly weaker by 0,3% from the previous week, resulting in a 1,29% gain in the market in US$ terms. All micron categories experienced good competition from the buying houses and ended in positive territory, with the very fine and medium micron, long merino fleece wools attracting the most attention. Sustainable certified wools comprised 37,5% of the merino wools on offer and continued to outperform the market, especially in the medium micron segment.

Cape Wools Merino Indicator
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Wool is not a mandatory choice in today’s apparel markets. It competes with other fibers, natural, and synthetic.  However, the retail sector is rapidly evolving and issues such as sustainability, animal welfare, ethics and the environment are becoming increasingly important as factors influencing fiber choice when purchasing garments. Traceability and transparency along the value chain are also becoming increasingly important to underpin the story of wool at consumer level.

Traditionally, the marketing of wool at consumer level has mostly concentrated on promoting fiber attributes in the end-product form. As the other issues mentioned gain traction in the marketing and promotion effort, best practice and assurance protocols must be introduced, implemented, maintained and supported by appropriate documented proof or evidence to support the overall marketing and promotion of the wool industry and its products


Research and Development

To enable Cape Wools SA (CWSA) to fulfil its obligations in terms of the strategic functions allocated to it by the Wool Forum, CWSA receives funding from the Wool Trust which, amongst others, also identifies as one of its main objects, to generate income from its capital base to provide funding for “research in connection with the improvement, production, manufacture, processing, storage of marketing of South African wool”. 

All projects are managed on contract by the research and development service provider in terms of a generic Research and Development Protocol which specifies intermediate output requirements, milestones and deliverables per project. 

The current research and development portfolio reflects a mixture of short- and long-term projects and are focused on Sustainability, Biosecurity, Transformation and Marketing & Communication.  These strategic areas have been identified as key in delivering on the objectives of CWSA.

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