LOCAL broker Maluti Wool and Mohair Centre (MWMC) made history last week when it sent its first consignment of fabric directly to Bulgaria.
Previously, Lesotho had predominantly relied on China, while Italy, India and Czech Republic have also purchased some of the wool. All the mohair produced in Lesotho is sold to buyers in neighbouring South Africa.
MWMC director of corporate affairs, Lehlohonolo Matee said they shipped out a container with 105 wool bales (about 15 tonnes) on Tuesday directly to an undisclosed Bulgarian buyer on a trial basis.
Mr Matee said expanding their market to Europe would strengthen price competition between international buyers for the benefit of farmers.
He said the wool was bought through an online auction.
“This means there is an opportunity for more wool exports to Europe going forward,” Mr Matee said.
“Breaking into the European market means there will be competitive prices between Chinese buyers and European buyers because they will know the Lesotho product and its quality, which can only be good for farmers.
“We have secured a deal with an international buyer who operates fabric mills in both China and Bulgaria. We sold him six containers of wool with five going to China and one destined for Bulgaria.”
The broker has been assisted by the department of livestock services in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in preparing to export to Europe.
Director of the department, Relebohile Mahloane, said they have inspected the broker’s handling facilities to ensure the product meets the necessary standards.
“After being satisfied that they are compliant with disease control standards, we have issued them with a Certificate of Veterinary Approved Establishment for Export of Greasy Wool.
“This will be the first time that Lesotho wool is exported directly to Europe because in the past, it has been exported to Europe via Port Elizabeth (South Africa),” Dr Mahloane said.