WoolProducers Australia has been awarded an $800,000 Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) grant to build a roadmap for the diversification of export markets for Australian wool.
The funding will help WoolProducers to act upon recommendations of a report developed through the ATMAC program in November 2022, which outlined the feasibility of conducting early-stage wool processing in Australia and diversified offshore locations, thereby opening Australia’s wool exports wider range of markets.
The grant will also enable pre-export value adding to our greasy wool and offering it to new and existing markets.
Australian wool exports were valued at $3.592 billion in 2021-22, and Australia is one of the world’s largest wool producers, producing around 25 per cent of greasy wool sold on the world market.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt said that the grant funding would enable the wool industry to identify pathways toward market diversification and mitigation of trade risks associated with Tariff and Non-tariff trade barriers, including the impact of an emergency animal disease incursion like foot and mouth disease.
“Wool requires dedicated early-stage processing before it can enter more generic textile manufacturing processes, but Australia’s limited domestic processing capabilities leaves our wool producers reliant on offshore early-stage processing,” Minister Watt said.
“Last year, WoolProducers determined that onshore wool processing would not only be feasible, but that it would enable the wool industry to mitigate the trade risks, generate nearly 600 jobs in regional Australia and increase GDP by $1.8 billion.
“This grant supports the second phase of this project, allowing industry to build a roadmap toward domestic and diversified early-stage processing, and ultimately realising the significant economic rewards and risk mitigation opportunities.”
WoolProducers General Manager Adam Dawes said the grant would help to build on recommendations identified in the first phase of the Ensuring a sustainable future for Australia’s wool supply chain project, and develop ways to create market diversification and expansion for Australian wool.
“This next phase of work will inform the ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘how’, which will deliver a clear roadmap and finalise our investigations in this area on behalf of Australian woolgrowers,” Mr Dawes said.
“The work of this project of focused on supply chain adjustments to mitigate risks at a national industry and Australian economy level. Such work is generally out of the scope of existing commercial and industry funded market research investments.
“The end goal of this project will be to mitigate trade risk, including those posed by serious animal disease threats, and create catalyse diversified and expanded demand for our fibre.”