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Acts to Save Angora Goat Herd

Bloomberg News
2010 Oct 13
Mohair South Africa, which promotes an industry that produces 54 percent of the world’s supply of the fiber, will subsidize sales to preserve the world’s biggest Angora goat herd, which supplies Italian suit-makers such as Ermenegildo Zegna SpA.
The 29 percent gain in the rand against the dollar since the beginning of 2009 to a near three-year high and a halt to exports of mohair to China after an outbreak of Rift Valley fever is threatening the existence of the country’s 865,000- strong Angora goat herd, Deon Saayman, general manager of Mohair South Africa, said in an interview today.
“We took the decision to introduce these measures because of the very real risk of more producers making the decision to opt-out of mohair production,” Saayman said from the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, where South Africa’s Mohair auctions are held.
The industry decided at the fourth sale of the season yesterday to set a floor price 45 percent for adult mohair above the 70.85 rand ($10.36) per kilogram average after a 9 percent decline from a sale on Sept. 28, Mohair South Africa said in an e-mailed statement.
Under the arrangement, Mohair Pools, which pools mohair produces by farmers for sale, will use funds from the Mohair Trust to buy the goat hair and stockpile it.
“Essentially Mohair Pools will buy and pay for the adult mohair from producers and hold it until the price moves above the break-even figure,” Saayman said. “It could then be sold and any additional profits realized will be paid to the producers.”
Goat Competition
In August South Africa stopped exports of mohair and wool to China because it couldn’t guarantee that they were from areas free of Rift Valley fever. The disease causes goats and sheep to miscarry and can spread to humans, where it is occasionally fatal. Farmers’ profits are also being cut by an ongoing drought. One hundred metric tons of mohair is also being sold by a buyer for below market prices, Saayman said, without identifying the company. At yesterday’s sale 108.7 tons were offered for sale.
Ermenegildo Zegna, which sells suits starting at about $2,000, has sponsored an annual competition in South Africa for the best quality product since 1970, according to Mohair South Africa. Zegna is opposed to the measures.
‘Regret The Decision’
“We were amazed. This isn’t the solution and will just delay the problem,” Paolo Zegna, the chairman of the company, said in a telephone interview. “There’s risk of oversupply. As sponsors we regret the decision because this is a market we have tried to help.”
Zegna has stocks of mohair and also buys top quality mohair so won’t be affected by the floor price, he said.
Angora goats were first introduced to South Africa from Nepal in 1838 and the national herd has shrunk from 2.9 million in 1988 as farmers switch to game and sheep rearing.

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Angora goat in S. Africa stronlgy affected by R. Valley Fever

Vetsweb
2010 Nov 02
An outbreak of Rift Valley fever in combination with a weak exchange rate of the South African rand is threatening the existence of the 865,000- strong Angora goat herd of the company Mohair South Africa.
Deon Saayman, general manager of Mohair South Africa, said that the company is now forced to subsidize the sale of the mohair. “We took the decision to introduce these measures because of the very real risk of more producers making the decision to opt-out of mohair production” Saayman commented.
In August this year South Africa stopped exports of mohair and wool to China because it couldn’t guarantee that they were from areas free of Rift Valley fever. The disease causes goats and sheep to miscarry and can spread to humans, where it is occasionally fatal. Farmers’ profits are also being cut by an ongoing drought. One hundred metric tons of mohair is also being sold by a buyer for below market prices, Saayman said. Three more mohair auctions are left this sales season. Sales will restart on February 15 next year. “We’re hoping this message will have a stabilizing effect,” Saayman said.
Angora goats were first introduced to South Africa from Nepal in 1838 and the national herd has shrunk from 2.9 million in 1988 as farmers switch to game and sheep rearing. The animals are mostly kept in the hills of the Eastern Cape Province and Lesotho, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Argentina and Texas.

For full story click here.

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