Alpacas from Australia help China’s poverty alleviation

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/15 22:58:40

A curious alpaca stares at photographer at a farm in Australia. Photo: VCG

A unique effort at poverty alleviation is underway in China's Shanxi and Gansu provinces as companies are importing alpacas from Australia to help local farmers dramatically increase their income.

Over 30 poor families in Yangqu county, Shanxi Province have quadrupled their annual income by raising alpacas, a cute member of the camel family that has recently gained popularity in the country, the Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday.

Local farmer Liu Xuerong, who used to earn around 6,000 yuan ($897) per year growing corn and potatoes, said he now has an income of 3,000 yuan a month after he became a breeding leader at a local alpaca breeding base. 

A local enterprise established the alpaca breeding base in 2014. The base is now home to 1,000 alpacas which were imported from Australia.

The base not only profits from its breeding and wool processing operation. It has recognized the alpacas' popularity with the Chinese public and has developed tourism projects to boost income. 

Since October 2017, Northwest China's Gansu Province has import 861 alpacas from Melbourne to establish the country's largest Australian alpacas breeding center.

"Each alpaca can produce two kilograms of wool every year and one kilogram could be sold for around 5,000 yuan," Ding Puji, an expert from Kangle's Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Bureau, told the Gansu's

Ding told the news site that Alpaca wool is famous for its unique quality and luster. "Although the cost of an alpaca is high, they are not difficult to raise. They only consume half of that of ordinary sheep, even though they are twice the size."

Alpaca have been dubbed mythical creatures in China and their charactitures are used as emojis and they were playfully mocked as the grass-mud horse which transliterates in Chinese as a dirty insult.

In the past Alpacas could be purchased in a variety of colors on China's online shopping platform Taobao for between 30,000 and 60,000 yuan.


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