July 30, 2004
July 30, 2004 -- The Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) announced late last week its intent to spend an extra $20 million over the next four years to build the standing of wool as part of a wider program to improve the natural fiber?s ailing image, reports Age Australia.
The campaign will target fashion designers and garment makers in an effort to get Australian wool back on international clothes racks. The promotion follows a shrinking demand for wool clothes in the face of cheaper artificial alternatives.
A key part of the campaign is the creation of new forms of wool, then incorporating those wools into retail clothing -- particularly clothing sold in the Northern Hemisphere. (The Northern Hemisphere accounts for 98 percent of all Australian wool sold.)
Apart from working on new products, like a trans-seasonal blend, AWI plans on increasing financial support for products already in the market, such as wool fleece.
Producers approved a 2-percent levy to fund the project last year. Additional funding is part of AWI?s recently revised five-year strategic investment plan. AWI has budgeted A$75 million for 2004/05 activities ? A$35.5 million in off-farm research, development and innovation (RDI) and A$29.5 million in on-farm RDI. In addition, AWI will continue to invest in informational and educational programs across both areas, with A$10 million allocated for this financial year.
Staff contact: Rita Kourlis-Samuelson, ext. 29