Farmers turn to silkworms to fight poverty, unemployment

The speedometer of sericulture in Uganda is accelerating on a daily, as the idea gets embraced by farmers across the country in a bid to eradicate poverty and fight unemployment among the young people.

Sericulture involves, the rearing of silkworm for silk production and this is done by producing silk fibres through raising caterpillar larvae, particularly for the domesticated silkworm (Bobyx Mori).

Sericulture has so far spread to different parts of the country including Sheema, Iganga, Mukono, Busitema, Buikwe, Kween, Nwoya and it has also been introduced in the Lango region of Northern Uganda.

Clet Masiga ,the Principal Investigator of the Commercialisation of Sericulture Technologies and Innovations in Uganda, a sericulture project under the Tropical Institute of Development and Innovations (TRIDI), said the project is targeted to cover up to 50 districts in the country including Northern Uganda despite the semi-arid conditions.

He explained that irrigation technologies will be applied in semi-arid areas just like it has been done in India adding that this is because irrigation boost the production levels with up to 50% productivity rates.

“Sericulture can be the country’s bullet to eradicate poverty among the citizens by creating better standards of living for citizens,” he explained.

Silkworm eggs

As silkworms grow, they are dried into cocoons under carefully monitored temperatures in rearing houses,or else risk the eggs hatching.

Silkworms are fed on fresh, healthy, mulberry leaves, which are grown in varied climatic conditions, ranging from temperate to tropical.

Production of fresh cocoons

Mulberry leaves are major economic components in sericulture as their quality and quantity per unit area, have a direct impact on cocoon quality and quantity too.

Therefore, farmers have to closely monitor their mulberry gardens to ensure healthy production so as to have quality cocoon outputs at the end of the day.

During a capacity building training recently,Nabboth Nugume Ngambe, Sheema district entomologist said sericulture is creating a great poverty eradicating opportunity in the country.

He explained that seri-economics, which he defined as the economic sense of sericulture, give off high profits.

Ngambe said that sericulture is a higher cash value enterprise compared to other cash crops grown noting that silkworm production outputs are much higher than for cotton, coffee, tobacco, sugarcane.

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