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The Alpaca Industry in Peru

Actualizado: 4 jul

Peru possesses 87% of the alpacas in the world. More than 4 million alpacas live in Peruvian lands, which allows us to be the number one producer of alpaca fiber. Would you like to know more about the alpaca industry in our country? Well, you've come to the right place! Here, we'll break down everything about this sustainable material used to craft handmade knitwear items.


What’s the origin of alpaca knitwear?


Alpacas were tamed and turned into breeding animals by ancient Peruvians. Their purpose was never to serve as a cargo animal, but to use the fiber of their wool to create new textile. The alpacas are called ‘The Andes Walking Gold’.


What can you knit with alpaca fiber?


The fiber of the alpaca is one of the most refined in the world. The quality is even better than cashmere and sheep wool. Most of the time, alpaca fiber is the preferred choice for the manufacturers to make sweaters, skirts, bags, wallets, belts and even carpet rugs.


Why is Alpaca wool so important in Peru?


Every year, our country exports around 200 million dollars in alpaca’s products. Our most important buyers are the USA, Italy and China.


But these animals need special conditions for their wellbeing. They live in extreme climate environments at 4000 meters above the sea level.


Around 120 000 rural families are in charge of taking care of the alpacas and they are the ones who shear the wool. They are the first link of the production chain. These families yarn the alpacas’ fiber with extreme care and that’s part of the reason why the fiber is so strong. It’s a first class work of manufacturers.


The people who take care of the alpacas also live in these remote lands. So the breeding of the alpacas it's practically their only income and it is also one of the most productive activities in those regions. It is very important for the country that this business is preserved because between 70% and 80% of the annual income of these families come from it. And it has become an agricultural family activity that is a priority for our State.


Is there any regulation for alpaca knitwear?


Alpaca wool is so important in Peru that there is an international norm called Responsible Alpaca Standard (RSA). This norm helps regulate the wellbeing of the alpacas and to certify the quality of the final product. RAS objectives are:


  • Recognize the best practices of the farmers.

  • Guarantee that the way of getting fiber of the alpaca is in a safe and responsible way.

  • Create an industry reference that boosts the ways of taking care of the animals and management of the lands.

  • Provide a solid system for the production chain, from the moment of breeding to the final product so the users feel safe that the alpaca product they are getting truly is RAS.


Because of the importance of the alpaca in Peru, this species was declared a ‘Genetic Resource of Peru’ through Law N° 28350. A law that assures the genetic improvement and preservation of all south American camelids breeds.


On August 1, we celebrate the national day of the alpaca and 2024 was defined as the ‘International Year of the Camelids’. Given the significant role these animals play in our culture, we strive to use their fiber responsibly to continue making the most of their remarkable qualities. We hope you've enjoyed learning more about this fascinating topic!


At Knit-Lab Peru, we specialize in handcrafted and custom knitwear. Using the finest sustainable materials, we deliver high quality products worldwide. Contact us today to start creating premium knitted garments for your brand!



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