Camel Wool

Khamir is working to develop and market products made of locally sourced camel wool. This is our most recent innovation project, still in its pilot stage.


Why Camel Wool?

Pastoralism accounts for a large percentage of livelihoods in Kachchh. The unt maldharis, or camel herders, tend a total population of about 10,000 camels. Camel pastoralists in Kachchh currently face a range of threats. Declining grazing resources has led to a decrease in herd populations, and camels no longer sell as well as they once did. There is an urgent need to enhance these livelihoods and to conserve the local camel populations. Khamir’s Camel Wool Project is one part of a multi-pronged response to these challenges.

Though primarily used for milk and transportation, camels produce high quality wool that is very warm, water-resistant and highly durable. It can be used to make textiles, carpets and ropes. This wool has traditionally seen minimal use by pastoralists, and is a promising avenue by which they may earn additional income.


About the Project

The Camel Wool Project was launched in early 2013, in partnership with Sahjeevan and Kachchh Unt Uchherak Maldhari Sangathan (KUUMS, or the Kachchh Camel Breeders Association). Camels are sheared once a year, between March and April, just prior to the onset of summer. Sahjeevan and KUUMS coordinate the collection of wool. Khamir then takes on the work of product development and marketing.

Camel wool is coarse and has short fibres, which poses challenges to both spinning and the production of soft, clothing appropriate textiles. Khamir has explored a number of pre-treatment options, especially dehairing, which removes coarse fibres leaving only very soft, fine wool which will be used to produce stoles, bags and other products.

Although still in its initial phase, the Camel Wool Project will provide additional income to camel breeders, spinners, and weavers. It will also re-establish the utility of the camel—a species that is essential in arid regions like Kachchh. Please contact us or check our blog for updates on this project.