Rare Natural Animal Fibres Five-Year R&D Plan 2009-2014

  • 32 pages

  • Published: 12 Aug 2009

  • Author(s): RIRDC

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The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) has supported the Rare Natural (Animal) Fibres Program since 1990. The Research and Development (R&D) was initially restricted to Goat Fibres and then expanded in 1998 to include alpaca fibre. Since 1998, the Program has invested in 35 projects, with a total budget of $2.75m with RIRDC contributing 70% of the funding and industry levies and voluntary contributions providing the remainder.

RIRDC is committed to the development of five year plans for all of its R&D Programs in line with the Corporation’s Five Year Corporate Plan (2007-2012) and the National R&D Priorities and Rural Research Priorities and Rural Research Priorities.

The Rare Natural (Animal) Fibres Program funds R&D in components of production, processing and marketing of the alpaca, cashmere and mohair supply chain. Production occurs in all states of Australia. Some early stage processing occurs for most cashmere in Victoria and marketing of mohair fibre is mainly via two brokers in NSW. Marketing of finished alpaca products occurs mainly after processing overseas and re-exporting of the value added garments to Australia before subsequently trading the finished products to other overseas countries. Overall there is a strong export focus. As such although the Gross Value of Production of these fibres at the farm gate was $4.5m in 2006/07, the value adding by various Australian stakeholders in the supply chain is substantial.

The R&D Plan has been prepared by initially consulting the stakeholders by distributing a survey that had 232 respondents. A draft of the Plan was then prepared and circulated for comments to the Australian Alpaca Association Limited, the Cashmere Growers Association, Mohair Australia Limited, and the members of the RIRDC Rare Natural Fibres Advisory Committee. The Plan now defines strategic R&D needs that RIRDC will pursue in partnership with industry.