Lack of con­tri­bu­tion from grass­roots

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By STEW WADEY Mata­mata District Fed­er­ated Farm­ers chair

NEW Zealand sheep farm­ers had un­til Fe­bru­ary 24, to vol­un­tar­ily in­vest in the pro­posed Wools of New Zealand na­tional ini­tia­tive to im­prove the re­turn on their wool clip.

Un­for­tu­nately, the in­di­ca­tion was that many grass­roots sheep farm­ers had not made that fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion to a fund that needed to be at least NZ$5 mil­lion.

The pro­posed ini­tia­tive was to form a com­pany to se­cure the world­wide recog­nised for qual­ity of prod­uct New Zealand Wool trade marks, that now really have no mean­ing­ful owner in many farm­ers’ point of view.

Farm­ers who sub­scribed would be­come share­hold­ers of this com­pany and ben­e­fit from a dis­ci­plined mar­ket­ing strat­egy for pro­mo­tion of wool prod­ucts, and give es­sen­tial in­dus­try di­rec­tion.

If the fund-rais­ing ini­tia­tive did not reach the re­quired min­i­mum that needs to be in­vested, there would be no ‘‘body cor­po­rate’’ formed to pro­mote wool pro­duced in New Zealand and lead the way for­ward.

Hin­uera sheep farmer Craig Alexan­der has made an in­vest­ment com­mit­ment to the fund trustees, in that chal­lenge to raise $5 mil­lion.

He sup­ports the strat­egy to achieve real­is­tic re­turns from good man­age­ment of NZ Wool brands, plus the abil­ity to con­trol the whole process from con­sumer back to the pro­ducer.

Cur­rently, the idio­syn­crasy of wool auc­tions is the only mar­ket price set­ter with peo­ple ‘‘click­ing the ticket’’ be­fore the farmer gets paid for his ef­forts to pro­duce a top qual­ity prod­uct.

Mr Alexan­der said farm­ers don’t do a good job to pro­mote wool for a real­is­tic re­turn by an in­vest­ment in our in­dus­try, then they will ‘‘floun­der with no di­rec­tion’’.

‘‘If we ac­cept prices we are re­ceiv­ing to­day, then that will be an un­sus­tain­able po­si­tion for wool grow­ers. The in­dus­try needs to change, we farm­ers have to make it change.’’

Stew Wadey

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