Today, over 32,000 alpacas are registered in the UK. In Australia where the industry is nine years ahead of Britain there are 160,000 alpacas registered and the industry is growing at a rate of 17% per annum. While the long-term outlook for fibre sales is excellent, the emphasis for this young British industry will be that of breeding and improving the fibre quality and yield of the alpaca for the foreseeable future.
The challenge is to increase alpaca numbers here in the UK so that we as an industry can meet the ever growing demand for the fibre by the European fashion houses, China and developing markets in the far East. This increase will not be met by importing from South America but a concentrated breeding programme based here in the UK. Limited imports of high quality seed stock may arrive from Chile, Australia and the United States; however some quarantine restrictions and export limits control the number of animals leaving South America.
We are fortunate that our own interest in alpacas is being emulated in most European countries. There is already significant trade, research and information sharing between Britain and Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Holland, belgium, Spain, Italy and France.
The British Alpaca industry is fully supported by the British Alpaca Society. The Society supports breeders by operating a high quality pedigree breed registry, publication of a quarterly magazine, run alpaca classes at many agricultureal shows and are involved in all facets of marketing and research to promote breeder fibre and animal sales. The British Alpaca Socisety are very much focused on the end product – fibre.
Britain finds itself in the forefront of a new rural industry development in Europe. Alpacas, for a whole host of reasons, are one of the most exciting and sophisticated farming options available today.
To arrange a farm visit with a breeder near you please use our breeders directory.