Many countries that breed Angora goats have well-established breeding and extension services as well as infrastructural support to produce fine-quality mohair. However, farmers and rural women in northern Tajikistan have until recently been unable to access global markets, and after the fall of the Soviet Union they received little support for their breeding and marketing programs.
In the article ‘Goat production and mohair link Tajik women to world markets’, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) highlighted that “fine kid mohair is sold in Tajikistan at less than one-sixth of the price in Australian markets.”
ICARDA became involved in a project, which “focuses on helping spinners process kid mohair into luxury yarns for export, and helps farmers improve goat breeding and fiber quality standards to meet global market demand – essential activities for the sector’s future survival and sustainable development in Tajikistan.”
A two-pronged approach was used in which firstly, training was carried out “to spin high-quality kid mohair yarns for sale in the United States.” The project focused on the right type of fine, kid mohair and equipment. The combination has helped dramatically increase the female spinners’ level of productivity and incomes “earning 7 times more than they get for coarse yarns in Russia.”
The second part of the approach included training and working with farmers to ensure international standards are maintained when breeding Angora goats. The farmers were also “linked up with spinners’ groups who are willing to pay higher prices for quality mohair. This introduces clear monetary incentives to improve fiber quality.”
Building on the success of the project thus far, there are plans to further strengthen the Angora goat breeding and production of fine, kid mohair in Tajikistan and expand to “knitted products for export, providing new earning opportunities for rural women, improving their families’ living standards, and increasing their status within the household.”
For more details, and to read the original ICARDA article: “Goat production and mohair link Tajik women to world markets”
Photo credit: ICARDA