On 23 March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day lockdown period over the continuing spread of the coronavirus.

Although the export of wool had not been affected until yesterday, the announcement by President Ramaphosa has changed the entire trading environment.

Implications of the lockdown

The South African Wool and Mohair Buyers’ Association (SAWAMBA) and the brokers met recently to discuss the implications of the lockdown on the wool industry. It was agreed that, however difficult the decision might be, there is no alternative but to postpone all wool auctions and activities from 26 March.

Despite looking at all available options, it is unavoidable that the receiving, packing, testing, containerisation and shipment of wool will come to a standstill from 27 March.

As an industry we are aware of the dire impact on all businesses and farmers involved, but must respect the decision of our government and support the efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

Wool auctions to resume after lockdown

Wool auctions will resume as soon as possible after the lockdown has been lifted, with auctions to be rescheduled to ensure the catalogues are caught up even if it overlaps into the traditional off season.

The impact of the rapidly spreading coronavirus on global trading activities has increased exponentially over the last few weeks. We trust that wool trading and processing activities will return to acceptable levels in the near future.

We encourage everyone to adhere to measures implemented by government and believe it will contribute significantly to restrict the spread of the virus.

We request producers to contact their brokers directly with queries regarding the marketing of their wool. – Press release, Cape Wools SA