The Desi Oon Initiative

India is home to 74 million sheep and boasts of a rich diversity of indigenous wool and woollen products, and has the third largest sheep population in the world. However, India’s wool requirements are met largely by imported wool, which has resulted in a decline of wool procurement from shepherds, with an accompanying drop in revenues from the sale of wool. CfP’s Desi Oon Initiative has been working with sheep wool for over 5 years to enhance the procurement and consumption of indigenous wool, as a means of diversifying and enhancing revenues for sheep herding communities and the artisans involved.
Snapshot from the indigenous wool assessment project © Desi Oon Archive 

Desi Oon Hub – working with the textile and crafts industry

Indigenous wool in India is rarely used for textiles as the fibre is inherently coarse, but because of their beauty and utility, textiles lend themselves to creating a unique identity and attracting consumer attention towards indigenous wool. To enhance the visibility of Desi Oon, CfP is currently working with organisations that engage with wool textile crafts across the Semi-Arid West, the Deccan Plateau and the Himalayan regions. These organisations have come together to form a loose collaborative called the Desi Oon Hub (anchored by CfP) which works on indigenous wool textiles with shepherds, knitters, felters, spinners, weavers, and other wool artisans. Desi Oon Hub collaborators work with the common goal of reviving the pastoral and indigenous wool economy. The Hub is growing into an autonomous body with an Advisory Committee to steer and guide it and is expanding as a space for collaborative action, research, experimentation, learning and marketing. The richness and unique qualities of indigenous wool are communicated and celebrated through a range of promotional campaigns and events.

View Desi Oon Hub Partners

Insulation and Packaging

In addition to the textile related ventures undertaken by The Desi Oon Hub, CfP aims to promote the innovative non-textile uses of wool- as insulation in buildings and packaging in transportation. Wool is an excellent insulator of heat and sound and is also fire resistant. Insulation solutions can potentially absorb large amounts of unprocessed/semi-processed wool, making it a promising wool application.. CfP has partnered with Hunnarshala, a not-for-profit organisation based in Bhuj, Gujarat, to test the efficacy of wool as an insulation material in buildings under construction. To test market viability and implement wool insulation solutions, CfP has partnered with Delhi-based Environment Design Solutions, ​​a sustainability advisory firm focusing on the built environment.


Similar to insulation in buildings, CfP aims to promote the use of wool in insulation packaging for the transportation of temperature-sensitive perishable goods. CfP has forged a partnership with Earthen Tunes, a design consultancy based in Hyderabad and the Wool Research Association, Thane established by the Woollen Textile Industry and the Union Govt of India – to develop, pilot and test the efficacy of such packaging solutions for cold chain supply of perishable foods.

The ultimate hope is that these various interventions will create a uniform system of fair pricing for native wool and will help generate sustained livelihoods for sheep herding communities across the country.


Since 2020, the Desi Oon Hub, along with CfP and Living Lightly has organised five exhibitions (both online and offline), sparking a buzz around indigenous wool and triggering an interest in the pastoral wool narrative, the fibre and the products. Going forward, the Hub and CfP will organise 3-4 promotional events and consultations every year, along with a large-scale annual event at a prominent location in Delhi. The collaborators have also been working to create a new range of ethical woollen products for domestic and international markets, promoting the Desi Oon identity, and working towards developing the Desi Oon mark.
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