SA quality shatters mohair price record

The 2008 mohair summer season ended on a high note with two world record prices and hair of high quality on offer.
Issue date : 04 July 2008

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The 2008 mohair summer season ended on a high note with two world record prices and hair of high quality on offer. Two bales of kid mohair, belonging to Cape Mohair & Wool (CMW) clients Fred and Billy Colborne of Willowmore and Paul Michau of Cradock, each fetched R420/kg – the highest price in history. The buyer, New England SA, which bought both bales, only recently entered the mohair market and has already played a vital role in increasing the value of good quality kid mohair. According to the company’s buyer Ken Reed, the quality of the bales are possibly the best ever to be offered at a sale.

CMW’s binning department also achieved a new national record price for this type of hair when the best Pure Cape bin bale was sold for R312/kg, also to New England Wool SA. The last sale of the 2008 summer season showed a huge improvement in demand, especially on young goat’s hair, which had battled price-wise at the previous sale.

According to Pierre van der Vyver, the executive director of mohair at CMW, producers must be strict in their selection of lengths in the forthcoming season. “Good B-lengths enjoy a substantial price premium and fineness also plays a major role, with price differences of up to R100/kg between 27 micron and 28 micron hair.” He recommended that the finer component of the clip be EGT-tested to make sure of the accuracy of the fineness that’s been classed. “These lots should be of good length and clean of seed contamination,” he said. Auction results Mohair SA reports there were 140 624kg on offer.

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However, as a result of the large quantity of winter kid mohair on offer, the market indicator for kid’s hair wasn’t an accurate reflection of the demand on the day. This factor should also be taken into account when looking at the overall market indicator. The slight increase of 1,7% for young goat’s hair was encouraging and there was also more interest for fine adult hair. Although the high volumes brought the overall market indicator down 8% from the previous sale, the season closed on a positive note. large quantity of kid’s mohair was passed, bringing the overall sales clearance down to 89,2%.

The overall market indicator for the summer season was R72,84 compared to R79,57 for the 2007 summer season. Although the same price levels for adult hair could not be achieved this season, the higher prices for kid’s hair were encouraging. The exchange rate was R8,02/US$1 and R12,43/Ñ”1. The first sale of the winter season will be on 12 August 2008. – Roelof Bezuidenhout

Sweeter electricity for Mauritius

Mauritius already PRODUCES 19% of its electricity by burning bagasse, but the rising fuel price has prompted the government to step up the move away from fossil fuels. The aim is to produce a third of the country’s energy from sugar waste by 2015. The increased use of sugar waste would eventually replace about 300 000t of coal in electricity production every year, saving nearly 1 million tons of carbon dioxide.

This would substantially shrink Mauritius’ coal imports, which were at 401 600t in 2007. That year, coal accounted for 40,3% of electricity production, followed by diesel and fuel oil at 37,2%, and hydro-energy at 3,4%, according to official data. The Mauritius finance ministry has also indicated it will reduce import taxes, including customs duty, as well as road tax, registration charges and insurance on imported hybrid cars by 50%. – Robyn Joubert

Europe struggling to keep up with demand for organics

Growing consumer demand is boosting sales of organic and fairtrade fresh produce in Europe, with revenues breaking the €5 billion barrier (R63 billion) for the first time in 2007. So said British group Organic Monitor in a new report. The downside, it said, is that the organic industry continues to be dogged by shortages, with European production not keeping pace with demand.

“Organic farmland is declining in some countries because rising prices of agricultural products are discouraging farmers from converting to organic practices,” the report said. “Supermarkets are developing global supply chains to overcome supply issues, causing organic products to come into the region from almost every continent.

Large conventional fresh produce companies are showing an increase in market share because of their close ties with supermarkets. Mergers and acquisitions are also occurring as dedicated organic companies adapt to the changing competitive landscape,” the report read. – Alan Harman