Cooperative Marketing of WoolTuesday, Oct 23, 2001
Yesterday’s news item that a new co-operative wool company, Growerco Limited, has been launched as a
fully integratedsupply, sales and marketing company owned by wool growers should be good news for
an industry that is struggling to know which direction it should take.
Wool reforms with all the emotion and politics that surrounds such a change seems to have been on the
agenda for ever. Many a rural industry politician has prospered then foundered on the polarised
views of growers.
But principle opponents of change seems to traders who see there businesses at risk should the producers
manage to form themselves into a structure with sufficient critical mass to manage and market
product in an equitable manner onto a stable market.
Wool producers are more and more seeing wool production as a by- product of meat production as the profits
from wool decline in proportion to other farm income.
It is a situation not dissimilar to the dairy industry in the 1930’s. Tooley Street traders offering
4p per pound finally brought about a national approach to the export selling of dairy products.
The result, a slow climb back into profitability and an industry that could market with certainty of
supply and eventually earning a reputation for quality and reliability in the market.
The Growerco promoters have a formidable task to get growers to commit but without cooperation in marketing
farmers remain many weak sellers being manipulated by the few strong buyers.