The growth of wool farming in Eastern Cape

In comparison to other districts in the province, the Chris Hani district has been reported to be the largest producer of sheep’s wool in the Eastern Cape. This was revealed during the annual Wool Farmers Conference at Ngqoko in Cacadu (formerly Lady Frere).

Lawrence Maduna, Vice Chairman of the National Wool Growers Association in the Eastern Cape, stated this while launching the National Wool Growers Association in the Eastern Cape’s annual report.

“We have had a very good year this year because our wool has improved significantly compared to previous years, even though we had the Covid-19 problem, with service not going very well,” he explained.

Billy Van Steyn, chairman of the National Wool Growers, has been involved in the organisation’s efforts to promote farmers.

“We are pleased with the government’s intervention in wool production; we are pleased that it has intervened in the process, which includes fighting sheep scabies and other problems,” said Maduna.

Maduna said that the Chris Hani district has 457 shearing locations and produces 70 074 bales of wool.

“Things in wool production have changed, our districts have changed, and wool farmers have raised their socks,” said Maduna.

He claims that other districts have performed better in the past, but that more effort is required.

One of the changes announced by this organisation is the return of South African wool to China after it had been prohibited from being exported to China. This is said to have had an impact on wool production in South Africa and other countries, as China is the leading buyer of South African wool.

“This wool was suspended because of an outbreak of oral disease in South Africa, which prevented China from buying South African wool,” explained Maduna. He said that the wool has been returned as a result of the efforts of various organisations, including the South African embassy in China.

“Australia used to be the world’s leading producer of wool, but thanks to the government’s and farmers’ efforts, our wool has become the world’s leading wool,” said Maduna.

He said that wool from the Eastern Cape used to be sorted by region, but that this is no longer the case.

“One of the changes that have occurred this fiscal year is the participation of the youth; the youth should be given a chance because they are the ones who will participate in the future,” said Maduna.

With the goal of improving wool production in the Eastern Cape and South Africa in general, 209 youth were taught how to shave with an electric machine.

The issue of livestock theft, which is a major issue in the Eastern Cape, was vigorously debated at this conference in an attempt to show farmers how to prevent the theft of their wool and livestock.

These wool farmers were encouraged to work together, report problems that lead to livestock theft, and expose known livestock thieves.

The MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Nonkqubela Pieters travels around the province distributing shearing sheds.