THE INCA'S QUINTAL
On 10th September this year, a prizegiving ceremony was held at the Pacomarca ranch for the first number of 'The Inca's Quintal', the national alpaca-fibre contest organized by Inca Tops SA.
This newly created competition was open to alpaca herdsmen who produce fibre from white huacayo alpacas in any part of Perú.  Each quintal (hundredweight or 46 kilos) received was pre-selected and purchased at the promotional price of 850 soles, more than the highest market price during the previous buying season.
For the contest, a total of 73 quintales were received from different regions including Puno, Cuzco, Arequipa, Tacna and Lima.  The fibre was qualified in Arequipa by Inca Tops in accordance with strict standards for fibre fineness, follicle density, colour purity, absence of kemps and fibre strength.
A total of 50000 soles was awarded in prizes, which included:
First Prize: 5000 soles in cash, six guaranteed embryo transfers, purchase of the winner's total fibre production at a preferential price, a trip to Lima, and a trip to Arequipa.
Second Prize: 3000 soles in cash, two Type-A breeding animals from Pacomarca, a trip to Lima, and a trip to Arequipa.
Third Prize: 1000 soles in cash, a complete shearing kit including tent, working table, shears, dumbells, sacks, overalls and other items; a trip to Lima and a trip to Arequipa.
Fourth Prize: 500 soles in cash, a handling-corral set and a trip to Arequipa.
Fifth Prize: Two complete tents for protecting newborn alpacas, 30 jackets for baby alpacas, and a trip to Arequipa.
In addition, there were 12 honourable mentions; consolation prizes of Inca Tops yarn, Incalpaca fine blankets, working clothes and thick blankets were also awarded.
More than one hundred guests attended the prizegiving ceremony, including the Mayor of Melgar Province, the Directors of Puno's regional government's Special Project for South American Camelids, academic staff from the Universidad del Altiplano, representatives of SPAR (the Peruvian Society for Registered Alpacas) the award-winning contestants, their families and the press.
As a part of the ceremony, a member of the Pacomarca technical staff, veterinary surgeon Rito Huayta, carried out for the first time in Perú, a live demonstration of embryo transfer - which amazed and impressed all those present.  A demonstration of 'Inca Shearing' was also provided and the young animals born during the 2011-2012 season were exhibited.
Using the finest fibre obtained in this contest, it is planned to produce a small collection of accessories using the new alpaca quality - IMPERIAL - at just 17,5 microns average fibre diameter.  This new and exclusive quality was born as the direct result of this contest and it is intended to present these fine textiles in the near future to the press, to authorities and to the prizewinners, as a part of the PREMIUM collection of KUNA.
In view of the success of this first contest, it is planned to repeat the event for the 2012-2013 season.


THE HERDSMAN'S COTTAGE
A project run by Inca Tops SA to build an 'ecological' adobe-walled alpaca-herdsman's cottage on the Pacomarca ranch is reaching successful completion.  The 160-square-metre dwelling, built entirely of adobe, is roofed with Fibraforte (trade name of a prefabricated roofing material) and straw, to ensure good thermal insulation.  The main bedroom of the cottage is also equipped with a Trombe wall, a novel system that enables the temperature of the room to be improved through solar heating of the air and its circulation within the living space.  The cottage will also be provided with one of the well-known Malena cookers, which incorporate an interesting system for burning wood or dried animal droppings as cooking fuel without polluting the air inside the kitchen while, at the same time, providing it with warmth.  The dwelling will also have its own plant-nursery and a section for raising guinea pigs, thus enabling the diet of the herdsmen's families to be improved through the inclusion of vegetables and proteins.  It should be mentioned that the plan is based on the traditional Inca 'kancha' - a layout dating from ancient times, where structures are grouped around a patio in which most of the family's activities are carried out.  

It is hoped that the building will be ready for occupation before the end of the year and that tests and temperature measurements be made prior to suggesting this type of dwelling as the solution to the accute housing problem suffered by thousands of rural families throughout the Peruvian Andes at altitudes higher than 4000 metres above sea level.