Livestock farming in the Andes

Alpacas in Peru

73% of the rural population in the mountains of Peru live in poverty.  To address this, we are working with alpaca farmers in the Puno region to help them improve their incomes. Introducing technologies such as water harvesting, irrigation and varied pasture crops helps build up the quality of their herds and increases the productivity of their land.  Their incomes can be further boosted by improving veterinary services and introducing better systems for processing and marketing alpaca wool.

The reintroduction of traditional weaving and knitting techniques and patterns using natural locally sourced dyes has helped increased the value of traditional craft products.  Each Thursday the group in this village come to work together at the centre and learn new skills which they put into practise at home.

Using fashion branding they are promoting the products to fashion outlets in Lima to try to build a market for these high quality products.

Vicuña in Bolivia

Apolobamba is in remote part of Bolivia.  At 5,200m in height, it is cold, arid and inhospitable. The only farming opportunities are llama, alpaca and vicuña. One of the main sources of income is selling vicuña fibre, one of the finest and most expensive fibres in the world. But vicunas are exceptionally difficult to farm. Our work is focussed on improving the livelihoods of these farming communities and protecting the fragile ecosystem when the vicuña live.

Working with the government, we have helped farmers to set up community-led companies, to store fibre from all the different community groups to sell on the same day. Experienced negotiators ensure that everyone gets the same price. This has effectively doubled the price for vicuna fibre, so farmers can now get up to $500 per kilo.

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