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Wool Production Areas
Five countries in the southern hemisphere - Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa and Uruguay are the leading producers of apparel wool from Merinos and cross breed sheep. They produce about 60 percent of world's total wool clip. Australia alone supplies more than 30 percent of world's total wool. Russia, India and China produce carpet wool. The wool manufacturing countries like U.S.A, great Britain, Germany and France also produce apparel wool mainly to reduce dependence on foreign supply of wool.
During 1987-88 world production of raw wool (greasy) amounted to 2690 thousand metric tons. Australia, New Zealand and Argentina produced 710 thousand (30%), 332 thousand (10%) and 172 thousand (8%) metric tonnes respectively. In the same year USSR and USA and South Africa produced 474 thousand, (14%), 140 and 100 thousand metric tonnes respectively.
World trade in wool. The principal raw wool exporting countries are Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa. These four countries jointly export more than 76 per cent of world's wool export. The world trade in wool is dominated by the sheep rearing countries of southern hemisphere.
The principal wool importing countries are Russia, U.S.A, U.K., France, Belgium and Germany. U.S.A., and U.K. take about 45 per cent and 22 per cent respectively. The countries of Western Europe are the main importers of raw wool. This is on account of their high density of population and increasing per head consumption.
It is interesting to note that Australia, the largest producer of raw wool in the world, has not developed a woolen industry on her soil. Almost the entire production of wool is exported so as to meet the needs of the British woolen industry. The raw wool of Australia is exported as fleece in grease, as it remains unaffected in export than cleaned wool. The reason for such large-scale export of raw wool from Australia is the following
(i) the market for woolen fabrics lies chiefly in West Europe and not in Australia;
(ii) the labour in Australia is scarce and costly;
(iii) the machineries required for the manufacture of woolen good are not available in the country.
(iv) skill, experience and organizational ability are also lacking in Australia.
For similar reasons, Argentina, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa and Uruguay have become exporters of raw wool to West Europe and the U.S.A. They have only a limited market for woolen goods because of low population arid climatic conditions.
Other sources of wool. Wool may also be obtained from other animals, i.e. the Alpaca, the Tibetan goats, the Angora goats or rabbits and the Lama. Tibetan goats yield soft wool used in the manufacture of the famous 'Kashmir' shawls. Alpaca wool obtained from the Alpaca is raised in Peru and Bolivia. Angora goats yield wool known as Mohair in South Africa. Lama wool is raised in Peru. Camel wool is raised in Iran, Asia Minor, North Africa and Central Asia.
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