79th annual SAMGA congress: With adversity comes opportunity

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

The 79th annual congress of the South African Mohair Growers’ Association (SAMGA) was held on 1 June this year and was characterised by optimism regarding opportunities and the international recognition the South African mohair industry enjoys. Also addressed were pressing issues such as the industry’s reliance on buyers amid numerous economic uncertainties.

The mohair industry structures are currently being streamlined, which will see SAMGA becoming a department within Mohair South Africa (MSA). The new MSA board will comprise of eight directors of which six will be elected by mohair producers, one buyer and one broker.

The future of vaccines

In his chairman’s report, Mark Shires remarked on good rainfall in many areas, cautioning producers to take extra care with regard to certain seeding grasses that can pollute their mohair clips.

He also remarked on the vaccine shortages plaguing the livestock industry. “Onderstepoort Biological Products has failed to supply basic vaccines which has had a negative impact on the small stock industry with numerous animal mortalities due to bluetongue reported by our industry.”

Regarding animal health, industry veterinarian Dr Mackie Hobson shared information regarding animal vaccine manufacturer, Design Biologix, which has been approached to develop heartwater vaccines which will become available later in the year. They have already designed a bluetongue vaccine which is becoming available now. Samples from suspected heartwater deaths are needed to test for the various disease strains and livestock owners are encouraged to report it as soon as possible to get sample testing done.

Read more about the Responsible Mohair Standard here.

Investing in the industry

SAMGA manager, Sanmarie Vermaak, gave a synopsis of the executive report and highlights of the past year. She saluted every producer and their family for keeping the industry going during tough times. Over the past year, SAMGA has invested time in nine farmworker training days, six information days, three industry tours and three local trade shows – Nampo Cape, Nampo Bothaville and the Kirkwood Wildlife Festival.

Other exciting events included the opening of two producer branches, the Gauteng Mohair Grower Branch and the Bo-Karoo Mohair Grower Branch in Carnarvon, as well as a visit to the American Mohair Council in Texas and the Grootfontein Agricultural College best stockman at the Angora mini farm competition.

The Mohair Empowerment Trust managed by Beauty Mokgwamme is going from strength to strength thanks to dedication, passion and hard work.

Reflecting on the past year

Marco Coetzee, the general manager of MSA, presented the 2022 mohair statistics which show that 51% of the world’s mohair production comes from South Africa. Of this, 73% is produced in the Eastern Cape, 19% in the Western Cape and 6% in the Northern Cape. A total of 39% of all mohair tops are exported to Italy and 26% to China.

Jackie Gant, MSA’s marketing manager, discussed the various markets in which South African mohair is utilised. She said it is evident that sustainably certified mohair (Responsible Mohair Standard or RMS-certified mohair) is the norm for accessing all markets. The mohair industry is also doing work to establish its impact on the environment to meet market expectations. “Collaborations are also vitally important,” Jackie added. “Collaborating with the South African wool industry is a big one.”

In his report ending in February 2023, Anthony Kirsten, CEO at Stucken who represented the Mohair Trust, said that the Trust’s primary objective is to preserve and grow its assets and, in so doing, optimise effective industry funding. It involves taking decisions that may sometimes look stingy but are aimed at looking after the industry.

Guest speaker and Agri SA vice-president, Nicol Jansen, spoke about the realities and challenges facing livestock producers, such as vaccine shortages, the devastating impact of loadshedding, biosecurity concerns, import and export issues, and that taxation of farming enterprises. “We have to ensure that we all share the same focus,” he said. – Carin Venter, Stockfarm

For more information, send an email to Marco Coetzee at marco@mohair.co.za, Jackie Gant at jackie@mohair.co.za or Sanmarie Vermaak at sanmarie@angoras.co.za.

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