On 26th February 2022, the Government of Uganda launched the implementation of an initiative known as the Parish Development Model (PDM), to enable it achieve the National Development Plan (NDP) III goal, which is to increase average household incomes and improve the quality of life of Ugandans with a specific focus on the total transformation of the subsistence households into the money economy, as well as eradication of poverty and vulnerability in Uganda
The 490-billion shillings model intends to address the challenges of the previous initiatives like ‘Etandikwa’, Youth Livelihood Programmes, Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme; which faced challenges of high administrative costs and not being in sync with the needs of intended beneficiaries and the country’s industrialization.
The Parish Development Model, is made up of seven pillars: Production, Storage, Processing and Marketing; Infrastructure and Economic Services; Financial Inclusion; Social services; Mindset Change; Parish Based Management Information System; and Governance and administration.
Some of the priority commodities for the PDM include: Coffee, cotton, tea, cocoa, bananas, shear nut, beef, fish among others and it is supported by 8 key principles namely; organization, market orientation, inclusion, equity, prioritization, evidence based, local participation and transparency and accountability.
Silk, an end product of sericulture, is another key commodity that can be aligned to the PDM.
The silk industry is projected to earn Uganda US$100 million annually, and will lift at least 150,000 Ugandans from the subsistence to the money economy by 2030.
This will eventually contribute to the Uganda’s Vision 2040 which envisages “a transformed Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country” hence the realization of the NDP III, which prioritizes inclusive growth, employment and sustainable wealth creation at household level.
The sericulture Industry’s Contribution to the PDM
Sericulture, the art and science of rearing silkworms for the production of silk, can play a vital role in wealth creation among the poorer sections of the country, who are mainly at the parish level. This is due to certain inherent advantages like minimum gestation period and periodic returns throughout the year.
Silk, which is globally recognized as the “Queen of Textiles” has a diverse range of applications like fashion apparel, carpets and rugs, and can also be blended with other fibres to manufacture fabrics.
The silk industry has a high employment potential and has improved livelihoods for millions of people with 60% of the income from the sericulture industry flowing to the primary producers like farmers, who are usually at the parish level.
80% of the people employed in the silk industry are in the rural areas, therefore it can make a significant contribution to the poverty alleviation programmes of the government as well as controlling rural-urban migration.
Sericulture contributes to the PDM on Production, Storage, Processing and Marketing; Infrastructure & Economic Services; Financial Inclusion.
It will also contribute to implementation of NDPIII programmes on Innovation, Technology Development and Transfer; Manufacturing; Agro-Industrialization and Natural resources, Environment, Climate Change, Land and Water Management.
Commercialization of Sericulture Technologies and Innovations in Uganda, a project funded by the Government of Uganda, through the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, under Office of the President (STI-OP), implemented by the Tropical Institute of Development Innovations(TRIDI), aims at promoting the development of the silk industry to create gainful employment and improved levels of income in sericulture through utilization of next generation sericulture technologies, innovations and management practices.
The project, is currently being implemented in 24 districts i.e. Bukedea, Kiruhura, Sheema, Lira, Luweero, Kween, Nwoya, Pallisa, Busia, Bulambuli, Gomba, Kayunga, Nakaseke, Iganga, Mubende, Buikwe, Zombo, Pader, among others, with 1,548 acres of mulberry established and 2 factories under installation in Sheema and Kween. This has created jobs for over 700 Ugandans directly, who derive their livelihoods from the silk project.
The project’s target is 50,000 acres of mulberry plantations, silk reeling factories in 50 districts across all regions of Uganda. These will create direct jobs for at least 150,000 Ugandans also and earn the country UGX 2,880 billion annually.
The project is aligned to the first pillar of the PDM (production, processing & marketing) by contributing to its aim which is to support creation of more productive jobs and wealth for all Ugandans especially in the Agro-Industrialization and manufacturing program. This is due to the fact that the sericulture value chain cuts across various sectors like agriculture, industry and trade.
The industry directly provides employment to individuals involved in sapling production, mulberry leaf production, silkworm egg production, cocoon production, reeling, spinning and production of raw silk, twisting and weaving.
It also provides indirect employment to traders involved in cocoon and silk waste sales, sale of raw silk, sale of silk fabrics among others.
A Business oriented Farmer Institution Development (FID) model, which will involve training of silk farmers to aggregate demand for input and output marketing is being developed and rolled out across the country.
This will help sericulture farmers, processors and marketeers, to be able to form their groups and successful manage them with aid from parish chiefs.
TRIDI with the Parish Development Committees (PDCs), will also provide support to the silk farmers’ associations to strengthen their capacity to manage their enterprises effectively, scale up their operations and improve profitability.
About 300 farmers have so far been trained in sericulture farmer association formation, development and association roles by TRIDI.
Houses for post cocoon handling, storage, drying and commercial processing have also been built in Mukono, Sheema among others.
These have created jobs to about 200 casual labourers, who are involved in the construction and over UGX 500million has been ploughed back into the economy indirectly, through purchase of construction materials for the houses.
Similar houses are to be constructed in parishes of other districts like Iganga, Bukedea, Nwoya, Kween, Zombo, Lira, Busia among others.
These will contribute to the first pillar and the aim of the manufacturing programme which is, increase in product range, scale of import substitution and improved terms of trade.
Sericulture is also contributing to the second pillar of the PDM (infrastructure and economic services) through extension of power and construction of accessible community roads for instance; In Chepsikunya, Kween district, where an over 5km road was made to ease delivery of silk post cocoon equipment to the nucleus farm.
With this development, the local small-scale sericulture farmers within the parish and district will be able to access the market for some of their products like cocoons and raw silk.
Additionally, the silk industry will contribute to financial inclusion pillar which aims at participation of subsistence households in the financial sector and hence the money economy.
Savings and Credit Co-operatives (SACCOs) belonging to various Silk farmers countrywide, will be able to access the Parish Revolving Fund (PRF), so as to enhance their incomes, smoothen consumption, build assets and reduce vulnerability to shocks
Story Compiled by Kutosi Demas Lukoye; Edited by Mercy Scarlet Kigai.