SECTOR OVERVIEW

THE CURRENT STATE OF THE SOUTH AFRICA MOHAIR INDUSTRY

South Africa is unquestionably the mohair capital of the world and forms a major component of our rich farming and textile history. Our skills and experience in working with this special fibre and the significant contribution we make to the global mohair market are testimony to the important role our country currently plays, and the growth potential it highlights.

Mohair production in Southern Africa began when Angora goats from Turkey were sent to Port Elizabeth in 1838.

South Africa, and more specifically the Karoo region, contributes somewhere in the region of 50% of the world’s mohair, making South Africa the largest global producer of mohair. Today, Port Elizabeth is known as the mohair capital of the world, with most of the world’s mohair passing through its port.

Angora goats are shorn twice a year and are not harmed in any way during the process. In the pursuit of perfection, their fleece has been refined through the consistent improving of breeding standards and meticulous genetic selection. Angora goats thrive in the Karoo, with its combination of hot, dry summers, cold winters and semi-desert vegetation.

This combination of best practice farming and best suited environment for Angora goats has allowed South Africa to develop some of the world’s most renowned and sought-after mohair.

Mohair is identified as a natural renewable resource, providing a sustainable production chain between animal and human, while contributing long-term prosperity to the Karoo and Western Cape regions.

Mohair is known worldwide as ‘the noble fibre’ or ‘the diamond fibre’, both nicknames derived from the incredible qualities it exhibits. Mohair, derived from the Arabic name of the goat “mukhayyar”, is the warmest of all natural fibres and exhibits a natural lustre which gives it a silky sheen. The fibre adapts well to all kinds of dyes, retaining brilliant colour over time. One of the unique features of this fibre is that it keeps the wearer warm even while the fabric is wet. It is also famous for its anti-pilling, anti-matting and anti-crushing qualities.

From limited research, it is believed that fabrics and textile products made from mohair last longer and are extremely durable because of its high tensile strength, which is even higher than Merino wool. Soft in touch and feel because of its thin surface scales, the fabric is supremely comfortable to wear. The crease-resistant, moisture-wicking and flame-retarding features of mohair make it an ideal fabric for upholsteries and home textiles. The breathability of fabrics made out of mohair make it lightweight and ideal for beautiful blankets and warm clothes.

Unfortunately, mohair production in South Africa has been in steady decline over the last 20 years.  Worldwide mohair production has dropped from 24,600 tonnes per annum in 1987 to 2,250 tonnes per annum in 2018.  This equates to an alarming 91% decrease in mohair production over the last two decades.

Challenges relative to consistent price increases, limited transfer of skills, limited innovation and product development, and the effects of drought on farmers are impacting the sector negatively.

These challenges mean it is more crucial than ever for the SAMC and our partners to identify measures to make intensive farming profitable, to develop innovative mohair products and to attempt to stabilise pricing structures across the sector to ensure growth and sustainability.

 

 

THE CURRENT STATE OF THE SOUTH AFRICA MOHAIR INDUSTRY

South Africa is unquestionably the mohair capital of the world and forms a major component of our rich farming and textile history. Our skills and experience in working with this special fibre and the significant contribution we make to the global mohair market are testimony to the important role our country currently plays, and the growth potential it highlights.

Mohair production in Southern Africa began when Angora goats from Turkey were sent to Port Elizabeth in 1838.

South Africa, and more specifically the Karoo region, contributes somewhere in the region of 50% of the world’s mohair, making South Africa the largest global producer of mohair. Today, Port Elizabeth is known as the mohair capital of the world, with most of the world’s mohair passing through its port.

Angora goats are shorn twice a year and are not harmed in any way during the process. In the pursuit of perfection, their fleece has been refined through the consistent improving of breeding standards and meticulous genetic selection. Angora goats thrive in the Karoo, with its combination of hot, dry summers, cold winters and semi-desert vegetation.

This combination of best practice farming and best suited environment for Angora goats has allowed South Africa to develop some of the world’s most renowned and sought-after mohair.

Mohair is identified as a natural renewable resource, providing a sustainable production chain between animal and human, while contributing long-term prosperity to the Karoo and Western Cape regions.

Mohair is known worldwide as ‘the noble fibre’ or ‘the diamond fibre’, both nicknames derived from the incredible qualities it exhibits. Mohair, derived from the Arabic name of the goat “mukhayyar”, is the warmest of all natural fibres and exhibits a natural lustre which gives it a silky sheen. The fibre adapts well to all kinds of dyes, retaining brilliant colour over time. One of the unique features of this fibre is that it keeps the wearer warm even while the fabric is wet. It is also famous for its anti-pilling, anti-matting and anti-crushing qualities.

From limited research, it is believed that fabrics and textile products made from mohair last longer and are extremely durable because of its high tensile strength, which is even higher than Merino wool. Soft in touch and feel because of its thin surface scales, the fabric is supremely comfortable to wear. The crease-resistant, moisture-wicking and flame-retarding features of mohair make it an ideal fabric for upholsteries and home textiles. The breathability of fabrics made out of mohair make it lightweight and ideal for beautiful blankets and warm clothes.

Unfortunately, mohair production in South Africa has been in steady decline over the last 20 years. Worldwide mohair production has dropped from 24 600 tonnes per annum in 1987 to 4 700 tonnes per annum in 2016. This equates to an alarming 81% decrease in mohair production over the last two decades.

Challenges relative to consistent price increases, limited transfer of skills, limited innovation and product development, and the effects of drought on farmers are impacting the sector negatively.

These challenges mean it is more crucial than ever for the SAMC and our partners to identify measures to make intensive farming profitable, to develop innovative mohair products and to attempt to stabilise pricing structures across the sector to ensure growth and sustainability.

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