Skip to content

Balancing Local Production vs Chinese Demand

South Africa’s total wool exports are worth approximately $300 million per year, and about 80% of that goes to China. Local sheep farmers and industry groups are now calling on Beijing to lift the ban. The ban has caused losses worth some 734 million rand, or $43 million, said Leon de Beer, general manager of the National Wool Growers’ Association. “The ban is unwarranted since South Africa has protocols in place that regulate the storage of wool after shearing as stipulated,” he said, explaining that after shearing it is stored at the temperature required by the World Organization of Animal Health. De Beer says there are more than 40,000 small-scale sheep farmers in South Africa who produce close to six million kilograms of wool annually. Their livelihoods and those of another 4,500 seasonal sheep shearers are now at risk. The South African wool ban is not political retaliation, simply the move of a government concerned about contamination, but the ban has made evident the dangers of importing mainly to one country.