THE Australian alpaca industry will mark a big turning point towards commercialisation with the auctioning of its first lots of classed alpaca fleece in January.
NSW producers have supplied 4000 kilograms of fleece to be sold in a trial auction by prominent wool brokers Schute Bell Badgery and Lumby, which will follow the first registrations in December of Australian Wool Exchange alpaca classers.
It's a milestone development the Australian Alpaca Association (AAA) has been working towards for several years, likely to set a floor in the market for annual clip that will spur significant growth in alpaca fleece production.
AAA Quality Assurance Reference Panel chairman Graeme Dickson said solid competition for Australian-grown alpaca fleece was expected, with Chinese and Italian buyers leading the charge but Japan, India and Turkey also creating demand.
AAA signed a contract last year with AWEX to provide a formal monitoring mechanism to ensure consistency in the preparation, packaging and branding of Australian alpaca fleece.
The aim was to guarantee a consistently classed, high-level product, which is what the market demanded, Mr Dickson said.