Swakara Fetches Record Prices

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK Namibia’s Swakara pelts continue to fetch high prices on the international market. At a recent karakul auction in Copenhagen, some Swakara pelts were bought for over N$700, the highest price that has ever been paid. Copenhagen Fur purchased 60 D Light Lyre Platinum pelts for N$771.53 for an advertising project. At the April auction, the highest price paid for a pelt was N$446.75. A statement issued by Agra on Friday said because of the good pastures, the hair of the pelts was longer and consequently the quality was higher. This time, 52 187 Swakara pelts were on offer, compared to 56 672 in April. The average price for the pelts that were sold last week was N$494.04, which reflects an increase of 21.07 percent compared with N$408.05 of the previous auction. The offer consisted of 42 170 black, 5 443 grey, 2 860 white, 113 brown and 1 601 miscellaneous pelts. This is the second auction where Namibia’s Swakara pelts were available for sale under the new quality labeling system, the Purple Club, to which Namibia was admitted in April 2006 as an indication of the high standard of sorting of Swakara in the country. Agra Pelt Center Manager Wessel Visser said the pelts were purchased by 20 buyers. The majority of the buyers were from England, while the second highest and third were from Russia and the United Arab Emirates respectively. Others that participated in the auction were from Japan, Hong Kong, Israel, the USA and Ukraine. The buyers, according to Visser, said the pelts were very expensive after the previous large increase and that consumers first had to get accustomed to these prices. They were however also of the opinion that Swakara is still high in fashion and that the market required more pelts. The top Namibian producers for the auction were John Willy and Malcolm Campbell of Lovedale Farming CC who sold 402 pelts at an average price of N$581.43, while Johan Moller of Postmasburg, who sold 257 pelts, was South Africa’s top producer. The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Dr Nickey Iyambo, attended the auction.