Such is the demand for Icelandic wool, lopi, that the company Ístex now plans to hire more workers to be able to increase production, RÚV reports. Ístex purchases most of Iceland’s annual wool clip.
Every year, the company negotiates an agreement with the Farmers’ Association of Iceland to collect and purchase fleece from sheep farmers all over the country. Some farmers make lopi from the fleece of their own sheep.
Every year, about 1,000 tons of fleece is collected, 730 tons of which is sheared in the fall, while 280 tons is sheared at this time of year, according to Ístex CEO Guðjón Kristinsson.
All the fleece is washed in the company’s cleaning facility in Blönduós, North Iceland. Half of it is quality wool, out of which lopi is made in the Ístex factory in Mosfellsbær, near Reykjavík. The other half is shipped abroad without being processed.
“The situation is such today that we can barely meet demand, and we need more workers,” Guðjón said. He expects to have to import labor to be able to increase lopi production.