The publication of the Wool Feasibility Report was welcomed by Laois Offlay based Minister Pippa Hackett recently.
Wool is a sustainable, organic, renewable natural material which can be used in a wide range of products such as textiles, fertilisers, insulation and packaging.
However, despite its versatility in many industries, wool prices remain unacceptably low.
In order to address this issue and seek a more favourable outlook for the future of the wool industry, government funding of €100,000 was secured in Budget 2021 to conduct a review of the potential demand in domestic and international markets for wool-based products such as insulation and fertilisers.
In advance of the review, a public consultation process was initiated whereby interested stakeholders were invited to submit their proposals on the potential market opportunities for wool products on the domestic and international markets. Over 45 submissions were received.
Following a competitive public procurement procedure, ‘The Agile Executive’ a consortium made up of experts from Munster Technological University and Donegal Yarns, were appointed in November 2021 to carry out the wool review and include the submissions received under the public consultation process
Speaking on the launch of the Report, Minister of State for Agriculture with special responsibility for land use and biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett said:
“I am delighted to announce the publication of this valuable report which contains a wealth of information for stakeholders and industry including potential funding streams, market opportunities for wool including fertiliser and insulation, and multiple areas for further research and development.”
One of the main recommendations of the report is the establishment of an industry-led Wool Council which would develop and promote Irish wool domestically and internationally, bringing together multiple stakeholders to foster collaboration, innovation and scaling activities.
The report suggests that the broadly based membership of this voluntary Council should include a mix of primary producer farmers and stakeholders/supporters, including commercial enterprises who are willing to fund research and promotions and to advise on scaling of micro businesses involved in the wool sector.
Minister Hackett added: “I now call on stakeholders and industry to come together to form a Wool Council that will lead the industry collaboration and innovation needed to develop and promote Irish wool domestically and internationally.
“Following the formation by industry of a Wool Council representative of a broad range of stakeholders, our department will provide financial assistance of €30,000 towards the initial set-up costs.”