Peasant communities: The first link of the commodity chain of vicuña fiber
Vicuña fiber has a high value in the textile and fashion industry and is seen on the most important runways of selective and luxurious clothing designers in Europe. However, there is little knowledge of vicuña fiber processing and its commodity chain. This paper explores and presents the links of the commodity chain of vicuña fiber and the positive and negative impacts that the process of commercialization of vicuña fiber generates in Peruvian peasant communities. The research, based on depth interviews and document analysis, aims to understand the development of the vicuña fiber commodity chain, the role of the involved social actors, and the policies and legislation implemented at national and international level in order to preserve vicuña species. The obstacles and the benefits that peasants face to sell of their vicuña fiber within the formal economy are compared to the obstacles and benefits within the informal economy. The main result of the commodity chain of vicuña fiber study is that Peruvian peasant communities, whether in the formal or informal value chain, obtain a small profit compare to the manufacturing and retail links overseas. The contrast of profit gained among the agents or actors occurs because the consumption drives the commodity chain of vicuna fiber and the added value that the marketing departments of the final retails and transnational core companies provide to the final product is more value in the buyer-driven commodity chain.