12 March 1999






North Island Fleeces Go Gold

New Zealand's first ever fully quality assured consignment of crossbred wool was shipped from Wellington last week.

Destined for Neirynck Holvoet, a large carpet yarn spinner in Belgium, it carries the Fernmark Gold label -- an initiative designed to build on New Zealand's reputation for producing the world's best wool.

To qualify, everyone involved from the sheep to the ship was accredited to the Fernmark Quality Programme (FQP), says Kelvin Whall of WoolPro, the company which manages the programme within New Zealand.

"The wool was sourced from FQP farms in Hawkes Bay by FQP broker Williams & Kettle Ltd. They were supplying FQP exporter A Dewavrin Fils, which contracted the scouring of the consignment to Seaview Wools, which is also FQP accredited," he says.

A Dewavrin Fils managing director John Derbidge says the Fernmark Gold shipment was going to a long-standing customer.

"Neirynck Holvoet operate at the top end of the market and buy to very tight specifications. We expect them to be very receptive."

The Fernmark Quality Programme was developed three years ago by Wools of New Zealand -- the company which is now responsible for its promotion overseas.

In that time, eight exporters who between them handle 50 per cent of the clip have been accredited and ISO 9000 audited. As have most brokers and scourers.

According to Mr Whall, more than 80 per cent of Merino and 40 per cent of mid-micron wool comes from FQP-accredited farms. The first Fernmark Gold shipment of mid-micron wools left Dunedin last September.


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Gold 2





Progress with crossbred accreditation has been slower, with only 13 per cent accredited. As a result, Fernmark Gold promotion of carpet wools is still low key.

Wools of New Zealand marketing manager Mark Williamson talks of a chicken and egg situation -- one where farmers are looking for a signal from the market, while the market waits for more accredited wool from farmers before making a commitment.

"Now we have the on-shore links in place we can more confidently promote Fernmark Gold wool delivered through the Fernmark Quality Programme."

Mr Whall explains that this first crossbred delivery is intended to demonstrate the merits of the programme and build demand from early stage processors. In turn, positive feedback from the market will be used to encourage participation by crossbred growers.

"We strongly urge crossbred growers to ask their brokers or merchants to sign them up to the programme," he says. "With larger volumes of quality assured wool available, it will be easier for exporters to assemble consignments.

"When you consider that the future of our fibre is at stake, the costs and work involved are minimal," he says.

"Indeed, to make it simpler for growers, we are revising all the documentation and will have a more user-friendly version of the FQP Manual out by May."

Mr Whall says quality assured wool supply is becoming strongly supported by big wool customers like BWK in Germany. BWK owns New Zealand exporter J.S. Brooksbank which is FQP-accredited.

In a recent newsletter, BWK managing director Gerhard Harder said he preferred to buy from suppliers which were quality assured.

"If I buy from them, I know them, I trust them and know they stand behind their deliveries," he said.

[ends story]


For more information, please contact

Kelvin Whall, WoolPro, Tel 03 343 7918 or 025 530 619