The New Zealand Wool Board has announced it is to be demutualised as part of a new initiative to breathe new life into the country's wool industry.

Board chairman Bruce Munro said that the move was necessary to enable the declining wool industry to compete in the changing world food and fibre markets.

Other steps to be taken as part of the strategy include a stock exchange listing, accelerating the pace of sheep genetic development, and transferring the cost of promotion to those benefiting from it. A body is also to be set up to levy farmers to fund R&D for the "industry good".

Munro said the new structures would continue to represent grower interests, whilst giving them direct control of their industry without state support. The legislative changes needed to set up the new structures will take around 12-18 months to be put in place. 

New Zealand's wool and wool products exports were worth NZ$1.1 billion in the year to June 30. The Wool Board has net assets of about NZ$116 million.