Shear and share alike

Australia has a number of organisations that collect and buy fleece from growers. But the news that record volumes of alpaca fleece are being shipped to China in has led to the creation of a new co-operative Watarah Alpaca Fibre.

Producers from across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have agreed to set up the co-operative, which will band together to fuel emerging farmers.

A deal with a Chinese manufacturer which wants the product for fine clothing, duvets and carpet, will see a record 10 tonnes of raw fleece shipped out of Australia each month.

Breeders who want to join will pay 50 Australian dollars and an annual fee of 100 Australian dollars. The business plan, based on an annual supply of 70 tons of fleece which includes 22 tons of skirtings, expects to make a profit of 4,564 in its first year rising to 90,000 by the ninth year of operation. They forecast dividends of 23 dollars a share in year one to 448 dollars a share in year 10.

Watarah have refused to divulge the prices growers will receive for their fleeces to Alpaca World magazine.

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