Nepali Cashmere Restoration Project

Nepal borders China to the North and India to the South. The changra goats are found on higher elevation but during winter months, the pasturalist herders move from North to south to return back after the winter is over

As a part of our social responsibility, a small portion of the profit is dedicated to preserving the local breed of changra goat and their pastureland through conservation, training in the value of cashmere, efficient methods of cashmere collection and sorting. We believe that investment in couple of small mountain villages in far west Nepal will help in uplifting the livelihood of many families that raises changra. The dedicated fund will go to  “The lost goat project” and is utilized to support goat rearing (local Hircus goats only) and supporting activities.

Huge Herds of Changra Roaming and Searching for the Herbs (Jadibuti) Photo Credit: Sumeer Kansakar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROJECT ACTIVITIES

  • training on selective breeds and cashmere production
  • vet services and
  • pasture development projects
  • continuous improvement of cashmere quality
  • improving the quality of life and lifespan of goats
  • improving economic conditions of the herder beneficiaries

Cashmere goats are raised by small households in remote hilly regions of Nepal sometimes as their only source of cash income. Cashmere from Rolpa, Humla, Jumla, Rukum, Dolpa, Mustang regions of Nepal are of the highest quality of cashmere found in the world due to the breed, elevation and the pasture they graze on. However with increasing climate change the pasture is showing signs of desertification and scarcity. The Nepali cashmere industry is always facing challenges introduced by fierce competition and the desire for commercial traders to introduce cross breed for desire to make quick profit margin neglecting the benefit of protecting the local breed. The difficult geographic terrain and harsh winters has its own challenges for the families who depend on livestock for their livelihood pushing them to sell their goats for meat market for quick return.

Sheep, rabbit, goat, yak wool are mixed up to create local carpet used by local people. People in cities do not value these carpets much and the locals do not have much market outside and cannot compete with the Indian and Chinese carpet in the market. Elderly people fear that the traditional weaving if not preserved will not be picked by the next generation.

However the paturalist herders who raises these changras do not know the value of cashmere their goats can fetch. They have very little use of the luxury fiber. They usually use coarse hair along with sheep wool and Yak wool to felt Mats knows as “Radi” and “Pakhi” used as carpets and blankets when the weather starts to get brutal in these remote mountain areas. With monetary and other rewards herders will soon realize the value of the unused cashmere that they possess.

We partner with the local people, our manufacturing unit and support with training, preserving the traditional weaving specially in far west where cashmere collection has not been commercialized or practiced in scalable proportion. A co-op collection centers will collect and sort the wool where herders are offered price based on the market value. The sorted wool is then sent to our processing unit in Kathmandu.

Families travel from North to South along with their goats in bitter winter months as the mountains become unlivable because of cold mountain weather.

For every 50 shawls/ scarfs we sell, we buy a goat and give it to the family who takes the training. In addition at the collection centers we provide training and hand-over combs to the attendees for free after the training program.Our larger goal is to protect the goats from being cross-bred and to protect their pastures. The desertification of lush pastures has become a challenge for grazing goats. Thousand of herding families move from north to south in winter months. Much of the goats in this caravan journey carry goods that the nomadic pastoralist from the higher mountains sell to the markets on their way down south. Then most of the goats will be sold for meat and our work is to convince people that their changras are worth more that one time cash they will get by selling them to the meat market. Each Changra is sold for 10,000 NPR but if the herders can keep their changras they can earn much more. The co-op will be fair trade and offer herders the ongoing market price for the cashmere produced. We will be working with the local people in delivering this ongoing training activities.

The name of our project is: ‘The Lost Goat Project’. The Project buys back upto 5 goats for sale from each new family who is willing to keep the goats for cashmere and returns the goat back to the family for them to keep the goat for cashmere production.

Please write to us for more detail on these programs. We are just starting out……please stick with us and we will update all our customers with our activities and progress on this page.