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Why You Need Peruvian Alpacas

June 29, 2009

suri21Here we go again, another heritage debate. You might be surprised however after reading my ‘Interpretation of the Accoyo Market‘, that I do take a strong stance in favor of discriminating country of origin in Alpacas. What can I say– Peru reigns supreme, and I’ll tell you why.

In Peru, the name of the game is breeding Alpacas for fiber. This is more so then in it’s competing South American neighbors– Chile and Bolivia, where there is a significant meat industry for the animals, and the size of stock is priority. According to Mauricio Chirinos Chirinos, President of the Peruvian Institute of Alpaca and Camelids (IPAC), Peru’s fiber exports in 2007 was an $800 million industry (http://www.livinginperu.com/news/6856). It is in the interest of the big National Peruvian herds- Rural Alianza, Accoyo, Sollocota, and others to produce the largest, finest, clips of fiber which will in turn be sold to the large textile companies. Breeders compete at the Alpaca Fiesta in Arequipa, for the chance to win a computer, programmed specifically for keeping track of breeding records. The mindset is just different between Peru and the other two countries where Alpacas are native, and this is obvious in the fleece quality seen during the Peruvian imports between 1993-98. To this day, the strict breeding regiments of Peru’s top breeders can be appreciated in the descendants we have today in the United States.

There are two separate points I would like to make to support my logic that Peruvian Alpacas are the way to go for breeders:

  • Value– Just as the importers did with the Accoyo herd, the Peruvian animals as a whole were heavily marketed by breeders, South and North American-alike. This creates demand, and increases value.
  • Quality– No doubt about it in my mind, Alpacas of Peruvian descend demonstrate more elite fleece characteristics (particularly a consistency found in fineness). The proof is seen at Alpaca shows all across the country. This is of course a result of hundreds of years of selective breeding by the Peruvians, not just the one generation seen in the specific Accoyo herd. It is for this reason why I have a problem with breeders placing SO much emphasis on Accoyo blood vs. any other Peruvian. But when comparing Peru to Chile or Bolivia, well then it’s obvious- Definitely Peru.

* Follow-Up Note: This is a comparison of full blooded heritage. Mixed origin (i.e. 1/2 Peruvian, 1/4 Chilean, 1/4 Bolvian) HAS produced some of the best all-around Alpacas in the World.

Ciao.

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