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Wool growers urged to seize ownership initiative


Wool growers urged to seize ownership initiative

The establishment of Primary Wool Cooperative Ltd provides wool growers with the best opportunity they have ever had to be part of a national wool marketing cooperative.

Rob Cochrane, national president of the New Zealand Wool Brokers Association and former general manager of CRT's wool division who heads the South Island operations of Primary Wool Cooperative Ltd, says in the last few years a number of grower groups have attempted to obtain some form of ownership of their industry without success, but with Primary Wool Cooperative Ltd wool growers have an opportunity they should seize.

"This is a very positive opportunity for growers to take ownership of their industry through a cooperative company that has the heritage of two very strong and proven rural cooperatives behind it," he says.

"Even though it takes on a new name nationally, Primary Wool Cooperative Ltd is the result of the merger of two long established cooperative companies, and that's a better option for wool growers than trying to start something new from the ground up.

"Primary Wool Cooperative Ltd is a forward, progressive movement in the industry, and represents one of the best opportunities that wool growers have ever had to be part of a national cooperative."

Primary Wool Cooperative Ltd has been formed through the merger of East Coast Wool Cooperative Ltd of Dannevirke and the wool division of Combined Rural Traders (CRT Primary Wools) based in Christchurch. In its first year of operation, Primary Wool Cooperative will handle more than 140,000 bales of wool worth more than $90 million, making it the second largest procurer of wool in New Zealand and the largest wool cooperative by a significant margin.

Mr Cochrane is encouraging growers to take stock of their options, decide if they are interested in being part of the industry into the future, and if so participate in the company.

"The wool industry has been in the doldrums for some time, but it really does have a good future," he says. "Some of the research and development that is being carried out is leading to an exciting future, and it's clear that there's a whole raft of new uses becoming available for wool.

"I don't know where it will all lead, but certainly there's a wider range of options than we ever thought possible, and clearly there's a good future for the product."

Mr Cochrane believes we are seeing a reversal of the trend of the last 10 to 15 years for processing to take place offshore. There is something of a revival happening in New Zealand he says, with several wool processors choosing to stay onshore, further adding value to the product.

Mr Cochrane says because of the wide geographical spread of CRT and East Coast Wool Cooperative Ltd, both companies have been handling a wide mix of wool types including merino, mid-micron and crossbred, which means Primary Wool Cooperative Ltd has the expertise to cater for every wool producer. It has full wool stores or depots in Invercargill, Mosgiel, Christchurch, Wanganui, Masterton, Taihape, Dannevirke, Waipukurau and Napier and has wool buyers and field representatives based throughout the country.

Woolgrowers can become shareholders in Primary Wool Cooperative Ltd with an initial investment of as little as $500 which will entitle them to share in the profits of the company.

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