Alpacas are a niche market livestock enabling owners with small acreages the ability to trade and earn income from their land.
There is growing demand for quality alpacas developing throughout the UK and Europe. Quality alpaca fleece is a rare commodity and alpacas that can produce this throughout their lifespan will always command a premium.
The breeding of the alpaca as a luxury fibre producing animal has seen dramatic improvements and now uses the modern scientific breeding techniques embodied in Estimated Breeding Values. As breeders worldwide return the alpaca to its pre-Conquest quality, the potential becomes more apparent with each breeding season. However, some geneticists consider that even the best alpaca in the world today is still only 50% of what it once was.
Excitingly in the UK, alongside a very sophisticated breeding industry, a vibrant marketplace for alpaca fibre is emerging. This will only improve as alpaca yarns and products gain popularity and command more of a market share from the other niche fibres.
As a unique niche fibre that has a fixed growth potential in South America due to limitations in grazing and husbandry, as well as climactic restrictions, the production of quality assured alpaca fibre outside of South America has huge potential in the European marketplace.
Attracted by the softness of the fine yarns and the abundance of shades in natural undyed colours, the modern world is embracing alpaca with a passion. And although the industry will always be subject to the whims of fashion, it is worth considering that the total alpaca production in the world today represents only .04% of the world production of processed fibres – the potential for alpaca is huge.
The British Alpaca Society is a membership organisation providing a national network for all things alpaca in the UK. If you are thinking of purchasing alpacas, you are advised to join the Society which offers knowledge, networking and support to help you protect your investment and work towards your own alpaca aspiration.