(Claire Souchet, project administrator, Macaulay Land Use Research Institute)
The European Fine Fibre Network has received new funding from the European Commission, (FAIR3 CT96 1597). The new project is a Thematic network entitled ''Increased competitiveness of high quality European animal textile fibres by improving fibre quality'' and will be in existence until January 2000.
At the last meeting of the previous EC Concerted Action, a need was identified to establish a European network of researchers, producers' organisations and textile manufacturers engaged in research and development on the production and processing of high quality animal textile fibres of European origin, to improve the measurement of fibre traits in genetic improvement programmes and in the marketing of these fibres. This present network, which concerns cashmere, mohair, angora and fine wool fibres, will specifically:
1. Establish common methodology for the measurement of quality fibres traits, using OFDA fibre measurement technology and encourage comparability between fibre analysis in different countries.
2. Increase European collaboration in fibre quality improvement through the establishment of common protocols for measuring fibre traits in breeding programmes for different fibre types.
3. Improve the competitiveness of European producers of speciality animal fibres by establishing clearly defined market-led quality objectives, grading and presentation standards and the creation of new information channels between producers, industry and research.
A key feature of the network will be the holding of four workshops which will allow all those involved in research and development of animal fibres production and processing to discuss, agree upon and implement common measurement methodologies to encourage the competitiveness of Europe in the specialised fibres. A Round Trial of fibre quality measurements, using OFDA methodology, will be undertaken this winter for cashmere and mohair fibres to assist in demonstrating the value of the methodology.
There are also funds available for training courses and technical exchange visits to other laboratories, to increase the use of OFDA technology.
This first newsletter, one of two to be published this year, describes the network and the current stage of research on fibre measurements. The next newsletter will focus more on research on each fibre and the outcomes of the first workshop will be described. We would be also pleased to receive members' own ideas for the newsletter and the further development of the network.
Those who have not been yet contacted and who woulf wish to participate to this network should contact the network administrator, Miss Claire Souchet (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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