The UK alpaca industry is growing exponentially and has taken great strides forward, establishing itself as one of the most successful and profitable farming enterprises. With burgeoning markets in Europe this is a very exciting time to get involved, particularly in the fastest growing sector – black alpacas.
With the exception of the odd alpaca in a zoo here and there, alpacas were confined to South America until the mid to late 1980’s when the first imports of alpacas from Chile entered Australia and the US. The Australian and US alpaca industries are just now reaching commercial size. The 1990’s saw commercial quantities of alpacas imported into the UK and we are the leading alpaca industry in Europe with around 45,000 alpacas. Mainland Europe has approximately 25,000 alpacas in total, which is a long way from the Australian herd of over 400,000.
Alpaca breeding if done right is not only profitable but wonderfully fulfilling, and the amount of interest is growing year on year. We started breeding alpacas just 8 years ago and at that time virtually no one we spoke to had even heard of alpacas, let alone thought of owning them. But things have changed, especially over the last 5 years, and we are seeing more and more people either looking to diversify into breeding alpacas or owning alpaca products.
Everyone agrees this is just the start with large growth forecast in the next 20 years, and it’s not just the UK. Though several years behind us, the rest of Europe has definitely caught the alpaca bug! We believe with such growing interest and burgeoning markets on our doorstep there has never been a better time to seriously look to diversify into alpacas.