Media Release

Exporting livestock to Korea? Alpaca my bags

3 September 2014

Australia’s alpaca producers are well positioned to develop new export markets following the opening of trade in alpacas with the Republic of Korea.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said improving market access was a priority for the Australian Government.

“This government remains committed to increasing market access for all Australian agricultural industries. This is a significant new market for Australian livestock with the potential to provide support to this niche but valuable industry and bring real returns to producers at the farmgate.

“The newly agreed health conditions for alpacas to Korea is a very positive development for Australia’s alpaca industry, which has about 100,000 in the national herd,” Minister Joyce said.

“Over the past 26 years, more than 2,300 breeders have joined original importers in farming these unique animals. Australia’s alpaca population has grown to its present size mainly through breeding up from the initial imported stock in the late 1980s.

“Industry estimates the initial potential of the Korean market to be in the vicinity of 1,000 head of alpaca each year, but with good growth prospects.”

Minister Joyce said the export of live alpacas would support Korea’s demand for fibre, with breeder animals helping to improve Korea’s national herd.

“Australian animals and fleeces are now ranked among the world’s best with Australian alpaca fibre used in high fashion garments, as well as knitwear, blankets, doonas and even carpets.”

Minister Joyce said Australian and Korean government veterinary authorities reaching agreement on health certification requirements for live alpaca had opened the door to trade.

"Health certification requirements are the foundation for trade in animals and this agreement means we can continue to build on trade opportunities as we work to revitalise our primary industries,” Minister Joyce said.

Australia is the fourth largest supplier of agricultural products to the Republic of Korea, accounting for around 10 per cent of the Republic of Korea’s total agricultural imports. In 2013 Australian exports to the Republic of Korea were valued at around $1.9 billion.