The Realities of the Alpaca Market in Spain, by Jane Powell of AlpacaSpain.
The AlpacaSpain herd of some 40 animals reside at La Dehesa in the picturesque village of Gaucín which is in the Sierra Bermeja mountains in Andalucía and is where the original tale of Carmen was set. Life goes on at its usual leisurely pace in southern Spain, it is hard to do anything at more than a leisurely pace when it is 35 degrees outside.
The alpacas cope remarkably well and we are fortunate to have a great deal of tree cover and very shallow running water in which they sit for most of the day in the heat. Cool tummies seem to equate to happy alpacas. Gaucín had now for the first time, it lasted a day, in eleven years last winter and the alpacas took it in their stride, a slightly more careful stride than normal it has to be said. Luckily we rarely dip into single figures Celsius in the winter months but do have torrential rainfall and our alpacas deal with it all.
Herd owners in Spain have formed an association, AEDA www.aeda.com.es, to work together to promote alpacas here and we have a website with a herd location map which is proving to be a useful marketing tool. Each and every enquiry receives an information pack, I am sure it is hard for you to believe but most Spanish farmers have never seen an actual alpaca and have absolutely no idea they are a fleece animal. AEDA are working very hard to establish the fleece market alongside the animal sales.
This article can be found on Page 28 of our Autumn 2017 edition, on sale now! Click here for subscription and purchasing information.