Trade in Vicuña Fibre

Implications for Conservation and Rural Livelihoods

image of Trade in Vicuña Fibre

Once overhunted and on the brink of extinction, the vicuña species (a small member of the camelid family) is thriving again in South America’s Andes region. The decision to grant usufructory rights to communities to shear and sell vicuña fibre increased their economic incentive to sustainably manage and protect the species. As a result, vicuña populations have recovered and trade has grown by 78% since 2007, which is generating income for Andean rural communities and textile-processing sectors. This study maps the value chain, assesses the factors that have helped the species recover, and identifies current challenges facing the vicuña fibre trade, including the distribution of benefits and threats to conservation.



Vicuña governance issues

Value-chain governance refers to the vertical relationships among actors along the value chain that coordinate the range of activities required to bring the product from inception to the end user. Governance is about power and the ability to exert control along the value chain and about the related aspect of how much of the marketing margin is captured. It relates to the organizations or institutions, regulations and their enforcers that set the parameters under which the value-chain actors must operate. It is about information exchange, learning, standards and credit provision (FAO 2013).


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