The Italian company’s chairman Alfredo Botto Poala and board director Alberto Borsetti were in Australia last week to New England, New South Wales, region and to meet with the Australian Wool Innovation board.
Mr Botto Poala has been critical of Australia’s marketing efforts in the past, joining with other Italian processors in 2010 to query the industry’s approach to promotion.
He is a strong believer that now is the time to “jump on the wave” of increased consumer interest in wool with strong international marketing promoting the fibre’s attributes.
“I believe it’s time to do something to explain to the consumer how strong and beautiful wool is. It’s been 20 years of not talking about it,” he said.
The company has been buying Australian wool for 30 years, taking 10 million kilograms greasy a year – or 80 per cent of its requirements – to produce 5mkg of tops. Its cashwool yarns now average 18.5 micron, down from 19.5-21.5M.
“We now have a complete range of yarn from 20 Euro a kilogram to 200 Euro/kg. So we hope this can help give us a better service to our customers,” Mr Botto Poala said.
He said financial conditions had improved in the European Union in the past three months would continue to improve in future.
After attending the WoolPoll meeting at Armidale, NSW, he said growers needed to understand the money AWI would spend was good for Australia to market wool.
AWI’s Rob Langtry agreed there was a need for consumer education to communicate with a generation of consumers that did not understand wool because of the industry’s withdrawal from marketing.
“There’s a very large task for the industry in partnership across the supply chain to turn that around,” he said. “In general terms people are talking about wool again and what we need to do is stimulate the discussion.”