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In the Rhône valley, cashmere goat breeders are coming together to purchase a pulling machine. The acquisition is part of a scheme to mutualise the breeders’ tools and skills, in order to preserve the region’s luxury textile expertise and develop their agricultural businesses.
The last pulling machine in western Europe is up for sale. Designed to separate the finest cashmere hairs from the coarser wool, its acquisition is the central aim of a project steered by the Association française des éleveurs de chèvres cachemire (AFECC). The machine will enable local producers in the Rhône valley to do their own pulling rather than use a sub-contractor in Asia. As well as saving valuable time and money, it helps revitalise local savoir-faire.
Cashmere is considered one of the ‘noble’ textile fibres, like silk and mohair. Cashmere production is part of a campaign to safeguard the textile heritage long associated with the Lyon region. Using the machine, producers will mutualise the sorting and combing of fleeces to produce a raw textile of consistent, fine quality. The machine’s purchase is part of wider efforts to promote and develop this ancient, French, artisan industry dedicated to fine, luxury textiles.
As a catalyst for new jobs in this rural region, the project will encourage more cashmere producers to join the AFECC, helping to further dynamise local cashmere production. As a result, new breeders will contribute to the renovation and conversion of agricultural buildings which are currently standing empty. The project is supported by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès as part of the second edition of our H³ programme (Heart – Head – Hand).