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'Silk Work Group' to establish sustainable industry
Jun '09
A competitive silk industry can be developed in Rwanda on the basis of some of its untapped driving forces such as fertile soils, favorable climate and abundant cheap labour force, stated OTF Group.

OTF Group, an American firm renowned for its cutting edge consultancy on competitiveness, says silk can provide farming cooperatives with profits of over US $2,600 per hectare per year. It also can provide raw material for hand-weaving of fabrics, which can fetch over $115 per kilogram, added the group.

In order to enhance the potential of small and young silk industry of the country, OTF joined hands with the government of Rwanda and others in the sector. This sector has possibilities to generate more income than coffee or tea.

Rwanda should emulate Morocco's silk cluster, which has witnessed a rapid growth from $14 million to $35 million over the last five years, said OTF that has introduced a model called 'Rwanda Silk Work Group', which would establish a professional and sustainable silk industry in the country.

There are many insects that produce silk, but the largest quantity comes from the silkworm Bombyx Mori, which feeds on mulberry leaves and forms a cocoon of silk. The threads from many of such cocoons are developed into a single strand of raw silk, which is the basic component of all silk yarn and fabric.

Efforts in various directions are underway to enhance the silk industry in the country. This includes expansion of mulberry leaves production, consistent high quality silkworm egg production, careful incubation of worms, good distribution of eggs and worms as well as facilitation of affordable rearing houses.

However, farmers complain that they can't get loans from the banks to erect and manage expensive rearing houses as the banks are unaware about the potential in the silk sector. Access to the market is another problem for the farmers.

The farmers are being encouraged to form cooperatives in order to share the costs of establishing and managing rearing houses, informed the government. It is also being put into consideration on how banks can be trained to assess silk projects so that silk farmers can also benefit on the rural agricultural loans.

Silk farmers are also eligible for the partial funding of the $10 million World Bank Grant, only if they meet the requirements, informed the Rwanda Agriculture Minister Christopher Bazivamo.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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