The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic


Falklands Wool and Meat

Before 1986, when the fishing industry began to dominate the economy, the Falklands Islands economy was based on high-quality wool production.
Sheep farming is one of the biggest employers in the islands, employing around 298 people in camp (2018 Farming statistics the wool crop going to Britain for sale. The world’s demand for wool has increased and prices have risen giving new hope for the future of the industry. In December 2002 a new accredited abattoir, allowing the export of meat to the UK and Europe, was opened at Sand Bay. Some farmers have diversified and supply lamb and beef to The Falklands Meat Company. Around £3 million is contributed to annual GDP by farming. In 2021 the published Farming statistics recorded 487,137 sheep, 4,276 cattle, 445 horses, 403 dogs, 1760 poultry and 267 people on Falkland Islands farms.

Farming background

Early Falkland's economies involved sealing, whaling, hunting wild cattle, ship repair and provisioning but from the 1870’s to 1980 the economy was heavily dependent on sheep and wool production with record levels of wool production between 1909 and 1913 as better stock was introduced. In 1917- 18 prices rose to an unprecedented level but in 1933 fell to the lowest ever. They increased again up to World War ll but then the islands entire wool crop was contracted and controlled by the British Ministry of Supply. After the war controls were removed and wool prices soared, giving sheep farmers profits beyond all expectations. By 1975 the economy had declined to a stage that the economic viability of the islands was doubtful. After the 1982 war new commitment by the British Government gave confidence to start the fishing industry and tourism was also starting to increase giving the backbone industry of wool that had held the islands together for nearly a hundred years time to restructure. Many huge sheep stations were subdivided to make smaller owner- occupied farms. There are now over 90 farms with agriculture employing people (2012 figure).











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Photographic credits: Header- Jean Sinclair
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