La Candelaria Llama Breeding Project

Place: argentina, South America
Sustainable development of small rural communities Sustainable development of small rural communities
Total Budget: € 0,00 | Period: From January 2012 To


American domestic camelids are currently located in the Andean region from Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. It is a region with a particular environment characterized by: high altitude, wide temperature range, low seasonal rainfall, erodible soils and sparse vegetation labile low-quality forage. However, the most important is that under these stringent conditions a strong link was established among man - animal-environment, a complex whose understanding requires the application of multiple knowledge.
“La Candelaria” is a project that contributes to access and good living of rural population by improving all phases of production, in any form, emphasizing the need to increase the value added to all raw materials of domestic origin in order to obtain goods and services that contribute to generate leads certain of progress.  “La Candelaria” wants to become a company concerning animal production on the world market. This goal should be achieved from a job of great responsibility.


La Candelaria - Argentina

Lead applicant

Educational Guidance Center - Italy

Initiative partner

he Educational Guidance Center is an association of lay Christian volunteers working in Italy and other countries of the world in the training of able-bodied men for a more free and united, renewed in the culture. Recognised Body suitable for cooperation with developing countries, and supports active international volunteer projects and work in Italy for the formation of a new mindset and intercultural solidarity. The Educational Guidance Center - organizing centers of community life for the reception, orientation, training of educators and social leaders - supports the efforts of volunteers who make themselves available to take responsibility for co-operation in social work, educational, ecclesiastical, in Italy and other countries of the world - promotes courses, experiences, studies, publications and grants for educators and social leaders - with proposals, initiatives and subsidies dialogue with modern means of communication, promoting intercultural education for the spread of an attitude of trust and love for all creation and peace among men.

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore - Italy

Initiative partner

innovative products: the llama meat synonym of quality and health

The project gave a peculiar contribution in restoring the llama breeding as it was in the past in the Argentinean lands. The llama meat was called the Inca stronghold of power, but with the advent of colonization, their breeding was decreased with the entry of European cattle, surviving only where the latter was not suitable for farming.
The breeding was sustained by the receipts from the fiber, but only 10 years ago, we began to introduce the meat in the market for its many qualities and great taste. For this reason we continued to breeding camelids and extended its breeding area.
The “La Candelaria” farm, introduced the meat as gourmet product in the culinary circuit of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The meat was accepted immediately, leaving it the traditional Andean region. A few years ago we made sausages and jerky retrieve the ancestral (sun dried salted beef).


Gourmet Llama meat Llama meat encounters Buenos Aires restaurants
Llama breeding A spectacular example of llama

In July 2003 the Quebrada de Humahuaca was declared Cultural and Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO. This statement promote the international tourism, especially European, and the traditional Andean food began to develop, having meat a starring role in the national differentiation.
Before 2003, llamas farmers were in their lowest point after enduring a large textile crisis; the increase in tourism meaned an outlet for many small farmers in the area watching their llama meat revalued. The farmers began to separate exclusive animals for slaughter and meat-based products manufacturing.

Quebrada de Humahuaca The infinite landscape where llamas live
Wild llama How llamas live: any rules

From 200,000 animals registered in 2001, this number has tripled in the year 2012.
The sheep farming not suitable for fragile soil was declining to give more importance to camelids. The price of meat went from being marginal to be located above the traditional meats.
We worked more attacking consanguinity exchange males.
National market (ferias) and international calls generated new producers and recognized the llama genetics.


We are a lot now Llamas watching the visitors

The main beneficiaries of this practice were the small farmers of the “Puna” northwestern Argentina and all the region. The needs remain, and are many, because the farmers are remote and isolated, without access to health and educational programs and without professional training in the use of derivatives of the llama, both textile and gastronomic.

This project involves one farming technician as Livestock Executive production manager; there are also 3 people during the winter and 12 during the summer where most of the action are placed (shearing, separation rodeos, sanitary shemes). There is an engineer as responsible of social training and institutional relation and 1 technician responsible of marketing and communication.
We work in collaboration with different institutions such as INTA, the CERELA, CONICET and the Universities of Jujuy, Tucuman, Cordoba and Buenos Aires.


The main obstacle is camelid husbandry and meat commercialization. In Argentina there is a lack of an appropriate legislation to regulate these activities; to date there are not structured slaughterhouses for federal transit and / or export. There is the order to limit the number of breeding animals per field to shrink their market only to the province of Jujuy.


The greatest benefit of this experience was to change formal sheep farming to breeding camelids; sheep introduced during colonial times are not suitable for fragile soils of the highlands, eroding them. The camelids have endogenous soil care, and better weight gain than natural grazing sheep.

This project is sustainable cause it supports two major productions: meat and fiber. We could still have some sub-products, dairy and leather but these are still not used. In Argentina we have replicated the experience in different regions with totally different climates and situations obtaining at the same time a great success.

“La Candelaria” project has been chosen as a model and has been disseminated in different research center in Argentina and America.
The participation in gastronomic festivals around the continent with great press coverage help to the diffusion of this activity.

La Candelaria project Diffusion around Argentina