May 2020 Newsletter

May 2020 Newsletter

Dear Sector Stakeholder,

We hope that you are managing to navigate through the challenges the current pandemic is presenting and limit its impact on you personally, your families and your business or organisation.

SAMC’s approach has continued to be focused on making progress, and to assume flexible principles to respond and adapt to the ever-changing space all of us find ourselves.Prior to lock-down, SAMC was implementing various strategic Programmes.  Over the last weeks, we have spent considerable time reviewing and analysing the Programmes that are committed to with a view to ensuring that those plans are adjusted as best to respond to the shifting landscape.

We have developed insight and unpacked the impact this pandemic and the respective lock-down will have on the greater SAMC Strategic Mohair Sector Business Plan we were implementing prior to the crisis. We are developing plans in partnership with MSA for the necessary re-direction of focus over the coming months and will share these with key stakeholders as soon as they are drafted.

The current primary objective is to review the Strategic Mohair Sector Business Plan submitted in December 2018 while considering urgent imperatives as well as longer term priorities.  While we are not in a position to share these proposed plans, however this communication covers feedback on initiatives that have been completed or are in their initial phases.

Last week we distributed the SteerCom Voting form to key stakeholders.  Subsequently some stakeholders requested a brief profile on each of the SteerCom nominees to inform decision making, and we also received additional nominations that we believe need to be included.

It was our intention to share the profiles and updated nominees list yesterday, however improvements to our process have resulted in further consultation with the nominees to finalise their profiles and willingness to consider joining the SAMC SteerCom if nominated.

We will send out an updated communication and voting form as soon as we are able to.

Supporting the MSA Sustainability Journey

Recently, SAMC formally closed Phase 1 of a project that has been underway for the last 2 years in partnership with MSA.  The project was initiated prior to the RMS journey commencing, with its primary objective being to support MSA’s effort to assess every Angora Goat farm against the Sustainable Production Guidelines, amongst other related projects.

While MSA had made significant progress in completing producer assessments, the need to expedite these became apparent in 2018.  The South Africa Mohair Cluster, funded by the The Department of Trade, Industry & Competition (the dtic), and through it’s “Measure to Manage” Intervention funded in the region of 300 producer assessments and other critical software development projects focused on better understanding what drives sustainability of raw material.

Funding was also utilised to complete 3rd party audits for international brands seeking sustainability confidence, as well as software development to achieve the following:

  • Ensure that a producer’s sustainability status may feature in auction catalogues and alongside their bin lots
  • Certificates recognising producer’s sustainability status to be issued
  • Visibility of best and worst performing producers relative to their conformity with the Sustainable Mohair Production Guidelines

The support of these critical activities allowed MSA to progress with their efforts to build a more sustainable and responsible mohair sector and provided a solid foundation on which to build the Responsible Mohair Standard.  These efforts support the building of the South African mohair value proposition in a global context and in turn encourage increased demand and value in the future.

Critical Stakeholder Education Programme to support RMS

The launch of the RMS took place in March 2020, and South Africa now owns the opportunity to lead the world in terms of responsible mohair production.  While this is exciting there is still significant work to be done, particularly in terms of making RMS quality mohair accessible.

A critical starting point will be to ensure that farmers are producing RMS quality raw material, and within this is a tremendous need to educate different stakeholders on the RMS, how it works, the role of the brokers, South Africa Mohair Grower’s Association (SAMGA) and MSA in its execution as well as what stakeholders need to do to support it within their own context.

Education will play a critical role in driving understanding and adoption

SAMC has recently approved a project to support MSA in their education programme through the funding of professional services required to develop educational materials.  The project is substantial, due to the significant amount of information to communicate, and the relevance and format of the information needing to vary according to the stakeholder receiving it.

As a result, significant effort is being invested to ensure that the different profiles of stakeholders are understood, and that educational material is developed based on what is of greatest relevance to that stakeholder in a suitable format.  SAMC has made a commitment to continue to fund the professional services required until September 2020, when progress and impact made will be reviewed and the future phase of the project assessed.

Some of the elements currently being developed are:

  • Best practice posters for shearing sheds
  • Best practice manuals (translated versions included)
  • RMS Guidelines for farmers
  • Brokers support

The programme supports much needed skills development and will actively monitor the number of people in the industry that are educated through the programme and support increased RMS compliance.While we are sure that most of the Sector Stakeholders are aware of the COVID-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme, we are sharing it.

The Covid-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme announced by the President was officially opened for applications as of 12 May 2020.

This scheme is available to all businesses who are in distress as a result of the pandemic and with an annual turnover of less than R300 million, and can be accessed through the participating commercial banks of the employers.

Employers, who are interested in utilising this facility should contact their bank or visit https://www.banking.org.za for more information.

Please look after yourselves your families and clients, and stay healthy.

Kind regards,

SAMC Team

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