England’s most northerly county, Cumbria is a world-wide destination as tourists head to enjoy the stunning beauty of the Lake District. exports
It’s also the only part of England where the number of sheep outnumber the county’s human population.
And that fact has become a money-spinner for Cumbria as demand for its wool sets new records.
Government Environment Minister Rory Stewart spoke about the success of the wool trade on a visit Saturday to the Cumberland Agricultural Festival.
Against a backdrop of hills and mountains, dotted with grazing sheep, Stewart said: “Wool has been keeping us warm in the UK for hundreds of years, and it’s exciting to see our industry giving the likes of Australia and New Zealand a run for their money.”
The minister revealed Cumbrian sheep farmers are benefiting from a boom in British wool with the value of Britain’s exports reaching 305 million U.S. dollars in 2014, with exports to China doubling since 2013.
Last year, about 800,000 kg of high quality wool was shorn from Cumbrian breeds, including Texel and Swaledale and the hardy Herdwick.
British exports of the fabric are now being shipped to 50 countries, more than ever before.
Stewart said with over 1,000 new wool producers established last year across Britain, and 1,200 already flourishing in Cumbria, the wool industry is building skills, creating jobs and boosting local economies.
He added: “We’ve long led the pack in terms of fashion design so it’s only right our creative ideas can be made using sustainable, British raw materials. This is a great example of the huge contribution farming, including traditional hill farming in Cumbria, can make to our economy.”
The UK 305 million U.S. dollars worth of wool and animal hair exported in 2014 to over 50 countries worldwide, includes 128 million dollars worth to non-EU markets. During 2014 wool and animal hair worth 47 million dollars was exported to China compared to 24 million dollars in 2013.
A spokesman for Britain’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said in London Saturday: “Wool is the latest UK export to be in high demand in China, following in the footsteps of salmon and whisky which boast export values of 64.2 million pounds (98 million U.S. dollars) and 39.2million pounds, helping to create a strong brand for British produce both at home and abroad.” (1 pound = 1.53 U.S. dollars) Enditem

-Xinhua

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