Alpaca Market Assessment 2016

AgriFutures Australia

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

This industry relies on the consumers increasing willingness and capacity to pay for luxury products in both Australia and Asia.  Alpaca meat consumption is consistent with an increasing interest by food connoisseurs in new products and foods from other cultures.


This project summary presents a host of interesting facts on the market of this important and popular emerging industry.

A more professional Australian alpaca industry is emerging and enterprises with fleece, stud animals and meat sales have the potential to be profitable. The domestic and export sale of fleece has been facilitated by expert classing of alpaca fleece. The success of domestic markets for alpaca meat has been attributed to chef training and the development of dedicated alpaca meat processors.

An alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. Alpacas can be farmed for fibre, meat, pelts and
leather. In Australia they have mainly been farmed for fibre although significant inroads are being made into other product markets

Annual world alpaca production is approximately 12,000 tonnes of meat and 5,000 tonnes of fibre. Production is concentrated in the Altiplano – the high altitude regions of southern Peru, Bolivia and Chile.

Australian grown fibre is consumed domestically by specialist enterprises such as carpet and yarn manufacture and in the craft sector. This is the major market for Australian grown alpaca fleece.

The key findings are:

  • a more professional Australian alpaca industry is emerging. Enterprises with fleece, stud animals and meat sales have the potential to be profitable
  • domestic and export markets exist for fleece and stud animals. Fleece is sold through a number of specialist supply chains and sale has been facilitated by expert classing of alpaca fleece
  • domestic markets have been developed for alpaca meat and success has been attributable to chef training and the development of dedicated alpaca meat processors

In conclusion the report states that as an agricultural industry alpaca must compete with other Australian land uses including the bigger and less risk exposed sheep industry. Australian alpaca needs to be cost effective against good quality alpaca produced in Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina where the cost of shepherding, shearing and classing is much lower. Alpaca fleece also competes against alternative luxurious and super fine natural fibres including cashmere and mohair.

Good quality alpaca meat will need to compete with alternatives such as venison and chevron.

2016 - Australia - AgriFutures Australia
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About the Organisation

Name: AgriFutures Australia

AgriFutures Australia is a new beginning for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. We are an organisation that proudly focuses on the future of Australian agriculture. We live and work in the regions and represent the interests and aspirations of farmers and rural communities.

Our vision is to grow the long-term prosperity of Australian rural industries. In practical terms, this means:

Initiatives that attract capable people into careers in agriculture, build the capability of future rural leaders, and support change makers and thought leaders.
Research and analysis to understand and address important issues on the horizon for Australian agriculture.
Research and development for established industries that do not have their own Research & Development Corporation (RDC), including the Rice, Chicken Meat, Honey Bee and Pollination, Thoroughbred Horse, Pasture Seeds, Export Fodder, Ginger and Tea Tree Oil industries.
Research and development to accelerate the establishment and expansion of new rural industries, such as Deer, Buffalo, Kangaroo and Camel Milk.

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