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Article

New Value to Wool: Innovative Garments for Preservation of Sheep Landraces in Italy

Department of Economics, University of Foggia, 71121 Foggia, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Felice Adinolfi, Marcello De Rosa and Jorgelina Di Pasquale
Animals 2021, 11(3), 731; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030731
Received: 4 February 2021 / Revised: 2 March 2021 / Accepted: 5 March 2021 / Published: 8 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management in Small/Medium Scale Animal Farms)
Animal landraces are historic local breeds often characterized by low production levels, so that their economic sustainability is often threatened and the risk of extinction is high. In Basilicata, southern Italy, a sheep landrace jeopardized of extinction is Gentile di Puglia. Thus, the study aimed at investigating the feasibility of a possible conservation strategy for such landrace based on the innovative use of its wool for the production of quality garments, so as to give new value to wool and allow further income to farmers. The results highlighted a possible good demand for such products, so as to reduce the difference in gross margin between Gentile di Puglia and the standardized intensively-farmed Comisana, from 57% to 3%. Such economic performance could be further improved by widening the set of fashion wool garments produced, so as to make the Gentile di Puglia even more preferable than other high-production breeds.
In Basilicata, southern Italy, a sheep landrace jeopardized of extinction is Gentile di Puglia due to low production levels, low market values of milk and meat, and replacement of wool with synthetic fibers. Due to these dynamics farmers progressively resort to intensive breeding systems, hence causing the gradual disappearance of the ovine sector, the withering of traditional breeding culture and the abandonment of internal and marginal territories. However, in changing climate, traditional agriculture is getting increased attention worldwide by the consumers who are embracing emerging sustainable food production. Thus, in the light of a possible conservation strategy, the study investigates the prospective market for a garment (pullover) produced with wool from Gentile di Puglia, and woven through traditional techniques. An integrated methodological approach based on choice experiments and Bass diffusion model was carried out in order to analyze the consumers’ preferences, the penetration market of this innovative product and the new wool value for farmers. The results pointed out a potential demand focused on women aged 50 years and more and a recognized wool value to farmers of 55 € animal−1 (22 € kg−1). This new revenue could allow the reduction of the difference in gross margin between the Gentile di Puglia and the non-autochthonous intensively-farmed Comisana from 57% to 3%. The production of further wool garments for a wider demand could increase the economic sustainability of Gentile di Puglia, making it even more preferable than other highly productive breeds. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal biodiversity; sheep wool; choice experiments; bass diffusion model; Italy animal biodiversity; sheep wool; choice experiments; bass diffusion model; Italy
MDPI and ACS Style

Sardaro, R.; La Sala, P. New Value to Wool: Innovative Garments for Preservation of Sheep Landraces in Italy. Animals 2021, 11, 731. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030731

AMA Style

Sardaro R, La Sala P. New Value to Wool: Innovative Garments for Preservation of Sheep Landraces in Italy. Animals. 2021; 11(3):731. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030731

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sardaro, Ruggiero, and Piermichele La Sala. 2021. "New Value to Wool: Innovative Garments for Preservation of Sheep Landraces in Italy" Animals 11, no. 3: 731. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030731

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