10 Feb 2009

Wool deal leads to US exports

9:29 am on 10 February 2009

Hand-woven rugs made in Nepal from New Zealand wool will go on sale in the United States this year, as the result of a new arrangement between the Romney sheep breed organisation and rural servicing company Elders.

Elders has brokered a deal with a leader in the US luxury rug industry Everett Deneane to sell the rugs, made from New Zealand Romney wool.

Romney New Zealand chairman Hugh Taylor said the organisation started working with Nepalese artisans two years ago on a project to boost returns for its breeders and farmers, by making rugs for sale in New Zealand.

Mr Taylor said the New Zealand market was found to be too small so the agreement to market the rugs in the United States is a breakthrough.

The first shipment of 500 rugs is due to go on sale in July, he said, and retail at about $NZ500 a metre.

That would make a container of Romney wool worth about $NZ1 million, four times what the wool is fetching at current prices .

Romney New Zealand is also planning to supply wool for the new venture Elders has with the world's largest carpet retailer CCA Global Partners.