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Possum industry can grow to $200 million a year

Possum industry can grow to $200 million a year under new agreement

Under a landmark new agreement, New Zealand possum hunters will be able to rely on a steady, ongoing annual income for the first time because of a new year round demand for possum fur. Snowy Peak, New Zealand’s leading fashion possum knitter, Woolyarns, the country’s largest spinner of possum fibre yarns, and Basically Bush, the leading fibre procurer, have agreed to co-operate in obtaining possum fur.

This will provide year round continuity and stability for possum trappers.

The agreement also encourages greater participation in recovering possum fur and possum skins which are currently left to waste.

``The industry is currently estimated to be worth around $100 million a year. If we can solve the fibre supply problem we believe we can grow it to $200 million a year,’’ Basically Bush’s director Sue Boot said.

``Severe fluctuations in possum supply and demand will be evened out by two contracted companies differing seasonal requirements and commitment to significantly increase buffer stocks.

``For the first time New Zealand possum hunters will be able to rely on a steady, ongoing, year round demand for possum fur which will offer them a viable livelihood and reliable source of income,’’ he said.

``We want to add value to a possum resource currently left on the ground to rot with a new ability to purchase large quantities year round.’’ Many possums currently being eradicated to prevent destruction of New Zealand’s native bush are being left to waste. The new agreement means the unwanted possum resource is being used.

Sue and Steve Boot, through their company Basically Bush, will buy both fur on and off skins, becoming a 'one stop shop' for possum fur, pelt and skins.

Currently demand for fur is again outstripping supply in the merino/possum fur industry. Two years ago fur supply overwhelmed demand, after a period where demand outstripped supply. This industry has been characterised by such swings in supply and demand since it began.

Ms Drysdale said by entering the agreement with Woolyarns, her company would deliver greater certainty to possum hunters and agents.

``This was something that was impossible for either Woolyarns or Snowy Peak to achieve to the same degree without the co-operation,’’ she said.

Both Snowy Peak and Woolyarns stressed their co-operation was in the form of separate contractual agreements with Basically Bush, and each company retained its full independence within the agreement.

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