PORT ELIZABETH, South African wool growers are confident that their products will continue doing well in international markets despite challenges such as drought which are facing the industry.

This emerged at the annual Wool Growers' Association congress now underway in Port Elizabeth in Eastern Cape Province.

South Africa's wool industry mostly depends on the export market, with 95 percent of its products exported.

The wool industry generated 4.1 billion Rand (about 318 million US dollars) for the South African economy last season. It hopes this will increase to 5.0 billion Rand this season, despite the challenge of drought in some parts of the country.

Wool growers say their products remain relevant on the international market. Last year, the demand in shops increased by 4.0 percent and chairperson of the South African Wool Growers Association, Gillau du Toit, says they owe this to the quality of the wool produced in South Africa.

The wool price is still very good, according to the weak rand, but it's not only about the rand it is also the demand and supply chain. There is also very good demand at this stage, especially the South African wool, because of our good quality clip. There is a lower production worldwide in the last year and we picked the production in South Africa. So the demand will stay good for good quality wool, and we are looking forward to a good season again.

The congress also encouraged farmers to take advantage of the changes in their market. Director of Agrifusion, Frans van Wyk, says there is a huge growth in the new international markets, which will present huge opportunities. He adds that farmers need to take advantage of growing markets such as the Agri-Tourism industry.

We also believe that huge opportunities in terms of Agri-Tourism are also coming along, so how we respond to that is also to understand what those traceability measurements will look like. I think it's important for the industry to become compliant as quickly as possible and I think also to address the consumer's needs.

Despite the success in international markets, there are still concerns over the weather patterns, and how they are affecting the entire agricultural sector.