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SPECIAL FEATURE

The diamond fibre glistens for mohair farmers and producers The Eastern Cape is the world leader in mohair production.

Images: SAMIL

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hen farmers in the Cape Colony wanted better returns for their hard work, they introduced sheep which produced a better quality of wool. That tactic was so successful that the value of wool exports increased exponentially in the four decades after 1820. However, when Angora goats were introduced, the value of exports of mohair shot up in just five years from £15 000 to £107 000. South Africa had found its “diamond fibre” before the first real diamond was discovered in a field near Kimberley which would launch South Africa’s mineral revolution. The other high-value livestock idea introduced was ostrich farming and that went very well, until the market crashed around the time of the outbreak of World War I. Mohair continues to shine. The first Angora goats came to the Cape in 1838 but it took some time for commercial operations to take hold. By 1860, bales of wool and mohair were responsible for the port at Port Elizabeth handling more cargo than Cape Town. Mohair is a white, lustrous fibre (thus the “diamond fibre”) that is strong and elastic, and it forms a fabric that is easily dyed. Also sometimes called the “noble fibre”, mohair is lightweight, durable, breathes well and is crease-resistant. The great fashion houses of the world create garments from mohair which is also used to create scarves, socks, blankets, ponchos and throws. EASTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2020

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China and Italy are the two main export destinations of South African production, fully 95% of which is exported. South Africa now produces about 54% of the world’s mohair and Port Elizabeth is the mohair capital of the world in the sense that its port handles the bulk of South African exports, many companies have their headquarters there and the sector association, Mohair South Africa, is based there. As the industry’s representative, Mohair South Africa develops international partnerships and promotes the marketing of mohair products. The body’s stated aim is to “create sustainable demand and profitability for all role-players from producer to processor, and from buyer to manufacturer”.

Profile for Global Africa Network

Eastern Cape Business 2020 edition  

The 2020 edition of Eastern Cape Business is the 13th edition of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2006, has esta...

Eastern Cape Business 2020 edition  

The 2020 edition of Eastern Cape Business is the 13th edition of this highly successful publication that, since its launch in 2006, has esta...

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