Furriers love Swakara:Chinese familiarise themselves with Swakara
The group consisted of officials from Kopenhagen Fur and executives who are managers and owners of different fur businesses in China. Their visit was a fact finding mission to familiarise themselves with Swakara production and marketing.
The Karakul Board served as their local host in collaboration with Kopenhagen Fur’s offices in Beijing.
The group visited the farm of Karakul Board chairman, Mr Raimar von Hase where they were shown how Swakara pelts are harvested and prepared for auction in Kopenhagen twice a year.
The first Karakul sheep arrived in Namibia more than one hundred years ago from Anatolia in what today is northern Turkey. Over the years, the breed has been refined and its breeding expanded to hundreds of farmers. It has developed into such a unique fur product that local Karakul is designated by the label, Swakara.
Von Hase noted that the Board has identified Chinese fashion as one of the ideal and strategic markets for Swakara. “Last year, the Board in cooperation with the Beijing office of Kopenhagen Fur conducted a survey to explore the possibilities of marketing Swakara in China. The survey results provided better understanding of the market, and thus enables the Board to develop and run campaigns that will target designers, manufactures and high fashion fur lovers in China,” he explained.
Ms Chris Cui, President of Kopenhagen Fur in China, was full of praise after the tour of the farm. She said, “After months of endeavours, the trip to Namibia became a reality. I am very excited and certain that members of the group have learnt a lot.” Cui was instrumental in assembling the group for their visit to Namibia. The group comprises various stakeholders at different levels of the value chain from brokers and designers to furriers, manufacturers, and retailers.
The Swakara/Karakul Board of Namibia is a state-owned enterprise which governs the Swakara Industry in Namibia by act of parliament. Agra, by agreement with the Board, is the sole sorting and marketing agent of Swakara pelts. Kopenhagen Fur is the largest fur auction house in the world where Swakara pelts are sold on auction bi-annually.
In collaboration with Kopenhagen Fur, Denmark, the Swakara Board of Namibia promotes and sells Swakara pelts to the worldwide fur industry. China is currently the biggest end user market for furs in the world.