The great white north seeks alpacas from down under

New market access opportunities have opened up for highly sought-after Aussie alpacas, representing a positive step for a small industry with great potential.

Head of Animal Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Tim Chapman, said the announcement represented the strong trade relationship between Australia and Canada and the high value of our alpacas.

“Australian alpaca genetics are highly desirable internationally, so it is likely the animals for export will be top quality stud stock used for the genetic advancement of the Canadian herd,” Mr Chapman said. 

“Alpacas are also known for their high quality fleece production, with their lustrous, silky and locking fibre being one of their most distinguishable features.

“Australia only exports a small number of high value alpacas each year, many of which were re-exported from New Zealand to the European Union.

“New market access opportunities like this are a welcome outcome for the Australian alpaca industry, and places a niche and lucrative market in the spotlight.

“It’s unclear what the potential size of the Canadian market is, but this announcement will provide important new market access opportunities for industry leaders and alpaca breeders.

“The export of alpacas is small, but helps to maintain prices of high quality breeding animals sold in Australian auctions.

“Including fleece, animal and domestic meat sales, the value of the Australian alpaca industry exceeds $12 million.

“The fact that Canada initiated negotiations for import protocols reflects a rapidly growing and internationally respected industry.” 

There are approximately 140,000 pedigree alpacas registered in Australia, and at least that number again of unregistered animals. The majority of them are bred in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

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