The SFA recognise that the ongoing decline in the quality of cashmere fibre is one of the key threats to the global cashmere sector. To address this concern, they have included fibre quality improvement as a key principle in the SFA Cashmere Standard. Rather than establishing a base quality grade that must be achieved to meet this principle, the focus is on promoting the adoption of practices that are aimed at producing the best quality fibre possible and improving fibre quality over time, namely selective breeding and the post-harvest management of fibre. If herders can improve their fibre quality, this will help them secure price premiums and maintain the reputation of cashmere as a luxury product. 

Management Practices to Improve Quality

The desired outcome of this criteria is that over time there is a marked improvement in the average fibre quality of SFA Certified fibre.

  • Breeding selection of goats must consider fibre quality as well as welfare and suitability traits.
  • Locally relevant best practices for fibre quality improvements must be shared between producers through appropriate methods.
  • Producers must adopt a breeding improvement plan to improve fibre quality of their goats.
  • When fibre quality issues are identified, producers must take steps to understand and address them.
  • Producers must review and monitor the quality of their goats’ fibre annually, to incorporate learnings and inform their breeding improvement plan.

Minimise Contaminants & Damage

The desired outcome of this criteria is that fibre harvesting and storage practices maintain fibre quality during downstream processing and achieve added value for herders.

  • Best practices for the harvest and storage of fibre must be adopted.
  • For a mixed herd, harvested raw fibre must be sorted by colour and by age of the goats.
  • Bags used for the storage and transportation of fibre must not cause contamination of the fibre.