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  • Writer's pictureJane Underhill

Federal Government investment a welcomed boost for Canadian wool

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

The Federal Government announcement this week for a $150k investment into the Canadian wool industry is receiving some negative feedback from wool industry insiders. The argument being that a $150k investment is simply not enough of a commitment.

Perhaps it's true. $150K doesn't seem like a big sum of money compared to other industry injections. But in the right hands, it can be spun into gold.

The Carpet Plan (which should be published online shortly) is just one of many projects benefitting from this investment. And yes of course, it's just the start of good things to come.

The Carpet Plan business model opens with an offer to farmers to buy their greased wool at $3/kg and it allows for a social giveback model to the wool industry valued at 15% of the retail cost of the carpet.

The Carpet Plan has the potential to attract private investors, justify further funding for infrastructure and environmental protection, and produce $12 Million a year in product sales for the Canadian and global carpet markets.

The financial model uses an estimate of 300,000 kg of wool annually – with the option to scale up or scale down production as necessary. A starting point of 300,000 kilograms of wool means $900K in sales to farmers and a $1,7M social giveback investment to the Canadian wool industry annually.

The Globe and Mail on Wednesday quoted another industry insider as saying a few products won't change the Canadian wool industry. But this one Canadian product, the 100% pure Canadian wool rug, has the potential to reinject an estimated $2,7M back into the wool industry annually. That’s a pretty good ROI the Feds have just made on their $150k.

For those who argue that we don't shine enough light on the mini-mill sector, I ask what you would do if a percentage of the $1,7M social giveback fund was directed to initiatives that advance the artisanal sector? There's an opportunity to positively impact all stakeholders along our "very valuable" value chain.

At any rate, my point is - it’s not about the amount of money. It's about what we do with it. We don’t need, nor should we expect handouts either. It’s insulting to our industry intelligence. We have a premium quality raw material that has been undervalued for too long. Our job is to produce credible, bankable initiatives that honour the quality of the fibre and benefit all Canadians.

I’m grateful to Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada and the Canadian Government for taking a chance on our beleaguered industry. I'm grateful to the Campaign for Wool in Canada and The Canadian Wool Council for sharing the vision. I'm grateful to the Global Campaign for Wool, The IWTO and the roster of international wool experts who believe as much as we do in the potential of Canadian wool. And for their limitless guidance as we rebrand and revalue Canadian wool, advocate for the domestic industry and shine a light on Canadian wool producers on the international stage.

Caveat: The opinions in this post are mine alone. They do not reflect the opinions of The Campaign for Wool in Canada, The Canadian Wool Council or any affiliated directors, employees, volunteers or contractors.

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