GENETIC CENTRE AND ALPACA BREEDING
Located in the Azángaro Province of Puno, 140kms from Juliaca airport, Mallkini, owned by Grupo Michell, covers just over 3,000 hectares of land and possesses more than 4,000 Alpacas of the Huacayo and Suri species. Mallkini is the biggest privately funded Alpaca breeding projects in Peru and we are committed to teaching Alpaca farmers about how to improve existing breeding programmes in Puno’s Highland communities as well as other Peruvian and foreign institutions dedicated to the genetic improvement of Alpacas with the aim of ensuring the sustainability of the industry for many more years to come.
The geography at Mallkini represents and reflects the rich and diverse micro-environments of the Andean highlands, better known as the kingdom of the Alpaca. The highlands around Mallkini vary between 4,000 and 4,500 metres above sea level, with abundant pastures and wetlands, from which the Alpaca obtain their diet from natural grasses low in protein.
The natural surroundings and infrastructure of Mallkini make it a special place for holding events such as workshops and seminars on Alpaca breeding as well as for practising outdoor sports such as trekking with Alpacas, horse riding, walking and much more.
THE GENETIC CENTRE
As a breeding and genetic centre for Alpacas, Mallkini has developed a series of imduction programmes which include, with the sole aim of improving the Alpaca fibre in the Puno región, the selection and purchase of the best Alpacas from the Peruvian mountain regions, breeding techniques, nutrition, reproduction and research.
Mallkini began its operations in 1995 thanks to the efforts of the Michell Group, industry leader and biggest Alpaca textile group in Peru. Mallkini’s mission is to improve the quality of Alpaca fibre through the training of local breeders as well as to improve their standard of living and, at the same time, develop interest in ecotourism throughout the Puno region.
At Mallikini, we are also committed to the genetic improvement of the Alpacas, and to that end, we are working together with the La Molina University (Perú) and the Peruvian Department of Agriculture on the following genetic projects:
- Techniques in breeding development such as the transplant of embryos and ovocytes.
- The estimation of quantitative genetic parameters (legacy, repetitions and genetic correlations) on the production of fibre.
- Studies of genotype in relation to the habitat of the Alpaca in the Andean world.
- The study of the relationship between biodiversity and the reproduction of the Alpaca.
At the Michell Group we fully understand the need to improve the quality of Alpaca fibre and the importance of increasing the population of Alpacas in the Peruvian Andes, and with that in mind, our efforts began in the 80s with a Centre for Reproduction in Nunoa, which focused on the improvement of the Alpacas through better reproductive practises and the education of small breeders, who own the majority of the Alpacas in the Puno region.
This project began well, but was suddenly and violently interrupted by Shining Path terrorist activity, which destroyed many of the businesses in the area and put many of our collaborators at risk.
Nevertheless, our commitment to the project was renewed in 1995 when terrorist activity came under control and an investment was made in a ranch named Mallkini, which had the goal of improving Alpaca breeding, improving the herds training local breeders and contributing to the sustainable development of the communities in the Puno region.
Today it also shares the following programmes for the growth and improvement in Alpaca breeding in Puno:
- An Alpaca selection programme, dedicated to the selection of the very best genes based on the fineness and density of the fibre as well as the morphological composition of the animal, mainly in white and coloured Alpaca.
- Floor husbandry programmes which are strictly controlled and which have allowed us to establish a record of pedigree.
- Nutrition and reproduction programmes seeking, among other things, to improve natural grazing.
MADE TO MEASURE WORKSHOPS
For those looking for a place to visit, learn and improve their knowledge of Alpaca breeding without sacrificing the comforts of home, Mallkini has opened its doors for workshops and seminars on breeding techniques and Alpaca ranch management. Visitors have complete Access to our guest house and may attend our educational events held in a fully equipped classroom or conduct their field work at our installations at Sorani.
With the intention of boosting the development of reproductive technologies and achieving the genetic improvement of the Alpaca, the Michell Group and Mallkini have begun to produce a newsletter in which they publish the results of the valuable research done under this Collaborative Research and development Programme. This has been possible thanks to the cooperation of well-known professionals and the Mallkini team who have contributed their time, effort and expertise in order to obtain such important information.
In its first edition, the newsletter presents the results obtained to date in areas such as Genetic Improvement and Advanced Reproductive Technology. The latter of the two includes reports on the production of embryos in vivo as well as in vitro, as well as the area of collection, handling and conservation of semen and artificial insemination.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT