Suritex entered the alpaca fiber industry to employ women who are excluded from the labor market. Their success has the potential to disrupt the alpaca fiber industry simply through fair compensation of everyone involved in the process.
Through the NESsT-Kiva partnership, Suritex has obtained a total of $50,000 of financing as credit that will allow the company to expand its operations and include more smallholders who can sell their alpaca fiber at a fair price. This was achieved over the course of two Kiva campaigns in September and December.
Alpaca fiber is considered one of the world’s finest luxury fibers, yet the Peruvian communities producing it live in extreme poverty. Currently, the industry is estimated between US$150 and US$180 million (final product) with two main companies concentrating all of the processing of the raw alpaca fiber. This provides them with a very strong negotiation power against the alpaqueros (who earn very low prices per kg of fiber) and the accessories manufacturers (who pay high prices for the processed fiber).
The two manufacturers dominating the industry paid USD$4 per kg to alpaqueros for unclassified raw fiber in 2015. Alpaqueros end up receiving a very low “bulk” price because they do not have many options to sell the raw fiber to and therefore, do not worry about improving quality.
Suritex pays ~USD$6 for the same unclassified raw fiber and, by providing a classification service, Suritex allows the alpaqueros to earn even more as they are paid for the quality of their material. This enables a virtuous circle where alpaqueros can now focus on improving quality instead of quantity, allowing them to earn higher and more dignified incomes for their effort.
Another crucial problem
Women in Junin don’t have access to jobs that take into account all of their needs, such as childcare, skills training, and income requirements for a single parent household. The only jobs available are mining and agriculture, which are seasonal, require separating from children, and favor men. The skills training provided by Suritex makes employment opportunities more inclusive. Additionally, Suritex’s salaries in Junin are 20% above minimum wage in Peru on average.
NESsT works with Suritex on relationship and impact management with local communities, as well as marketing and sales planning, product design, hardware technology development, and alpaca care improvements.
We are grateful for the hundreds of lenders that have become part of Suritex & NESsT history and will be part of our journey.
Thank you for believing in Suritex and their work to expand employment opportunities for women in Peru!