New Zealand denies threat to meat from wool collapse
New Zealand Meat and Wool UK market manager John Mabb has dismissed the possibility of adverse effects on the lamb sector despite a report by a former chairman of Meat and Wool New Zealand stating the declining wool market would hit sheep farming.
“The perilous state of the wool sector is placing the future of sheep farming in New Zealand at risk,” said the report headed by Jeff Grant, also a former National Party MP.
In addition, addressing the sustained decline in prices and volumes of wool exported from New Zealand in the last four decades posed a “real and immediate” challenge, Grant's report said.
However, Mabb insisted that “meat is earning a lot more than wool, and this won’t impact on that. The report is using strong language to scare people into action, but the prices of one won’t affect the other.”
The marketing of wool will no longer be done alongside meat in the UK as of 1 April, after a vote among New Zealand farmers.
Mabb did admit that there was a desperate shortage of shearers in New Zealand, however. “Young people aren’t being attracted into the industry, and it’s back-breaking work.”
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