From Finnish Angora to the product of the future
(by Arja Simola, Finland)
From Finnish Angora to the Product of the Future is a three year research and development project on Angora wool production. The project was launched on May 1997 in the county of Jokioinen and has the following objectives:
1. All production is to be based on standardised Angora rabbit breeding and fibre production. This requires entering all animals in to a centralised register, developing a set of Angora rabbit evaluation guidelines and basing the feeding on grains produced in Finland.
2. A producer network for production, product development and marketing is to be established. This will serve as the quality controlling organ at all stages of production and be responsible for developing and promoting a uniform product line.
3. A training programme for producers is to be set up. The goal of the programme is an Angora Entrepreneur's trade qualification (under development).
Angora fibre production can be developed in to a significant and innovative livelihood to replace jobs lost in the structural changes in agriculture. The key to building a successful approach is in high quality animal stock, practical training and utilising the already existing resources and knowledge in the field.
The project is governed by Jokioinen county and its administrative head is the regional agriculture commissioner, Mari Klemelae. The project head and general manager is Arja Simola. Setting up the animal register and developing the evaluation and feeding guidelines is handled by the Institute of Animal Production at the Agricultural Research Centre of Finland (contact person : Prof. Asko Maeki-Tanila). The College of Arts and Design at Tammela (part of the Forssa Vocational Institute) is the responsible establishment for setting up training programme (Institute Rector, Sirpa Jaervenpaeae).
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