Lusanja Sericulture Station optimistic about massive harvest as Silkworms cocoonsFebruary 20, 2023
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The Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI) is overwhelmed with joy as a new set silk egg production machines have landed and been offloaded at their sericulture research center in Namasumbi, Mukono
The silk industry in Uganda continues to grow on a daily as new development set in each passing day, ranging from the flourishing mulberry gardens to the amazing silkworm rearing process and now the industry is steadily transitioning to commercialization processes of post-cocoon processing and fabrication.
With the arising number of silk factories in the country, the industry seems to have a glimpsing bright light at the end of the shadily blurry tunnel – in a few years, silk is clearly going to biggest enterprise and investment that the Ugandan government has taken a step to develop.
Uganda’s silk industry has been undergoing baby-steps to growth, establishment and now commercialization stages, though the country had registered no or less capacity for silk egg production since inception of the silk industry – the Kawanda silk plant had less capacity to produce and supply silkworm eggs to all the 36 sericulture stations established by TRIDI, in 25 Districts, in Uganda, therefore this gave need for the purchase and importation of silkworm egg production machines, that could produce and supply all the sericulture stations with silkworm eggs for rearing, given the history that Uganda imported silkworm eggs, and a whole batch of challenges lay with this importation.
Despite facing 2 dry spells of financial crisis, each following the other year after year, for the financial years 2021/22 and 2022/23, TRIDI has not been shaken off her table as the lead implementor of the sericulture project in Uganda, TRIDI has gone ahead to accomplish transactions for importation for a full set of intelligent measurement and control system machinery, for production of silkworm eggs.
TRIDI has continued to register tremendous wins, with the inclusion of the receipt of this new set of the silkworm egg production machines, which landed at their Namasumbi station last week on the night of Tuesday 7th March, 2023.
The silkworm egg production and incubation machines received by TRIDI bring with them a whole new ray hope for a thriving silk industry in Uganda, given that there are already two other existing fully installed post-cocoon processing industries in Uganda, located in Sheema and Kween districts, respectively.
This yet-to-be installed factory in Namasumbi, Mukono, is envisioned to be the major center of silk egg production and post-cocoon processing factory for the central part Uganda, while the factories in Sheema and Kween, will serve the Western and Eastern regions, respectively. Another Factory is yet to be established in Nwoya, too serve the Northern region of the country. The Namasumbi center will supply all the sericulture stations in Uganda, under TRIDI, with silkworm eggs.
TRIDI prays that, the funding financing issues that the organization is facing currently, are attended to, so that the envisioned dream for the Commercialization of Sericulture Technologies and Innovations in Uganda Project, gets to be achieved and thrives in Uganda.
The Commercialization of Sericulture Technologies and Innovations in Uganda Project is a project, implemented by TRIDI, under the supervision of Clet Wandui Masiga (PhD), the project Principal Investigator, and funded by the Government of Uganda since FY2017/18, with guidelines from H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda, through the Innovation Fund to support scientists to commercialize their innovations.
Sericulture is the art and science of rearing of silkworms for the production of raw silk, which is in-turn processed to silk, one of the highest and finest quality of fabrics in the world – silk is the queen of fabrics and has quite a pricey cost on the global market.
If this project can continues to receive all the necessary support from the government, Uganda can be a celebrated producer on the silk global market, since TRIDI recently confirmed that the silk yarn, branded as USilk, which had been sent to Europe, had been tested and met one of the best grades on the world market, TRIDI hopes to hit the target of the best quality Grade 6A, with improved production and processing measures effected.
“We are to begin working on these challenges to produce USilk grade 6A, the world’s best. This is to ensure we get the best price. Additionally, once we target the best quality, it means that even if we do not get the target, all our silk will be sold as per other lower to quality grades from F, E, D, C, B, A, 2A, 3A, 4A, and 5A. The lowest price for the lowest grade of silk yarn is USD30 per kg. The best is USD120 per kg. Our target is the best grade 6A to earn USD120 per kg. We should not have a problem to get the best after all we produce the best mulberry and best cocoons,” said Mr. Masiga.
The quality for silk begins right from the garden, followed by the best breeds of silkworm, then best rearing conditions, cocoon handling and processing – this will guarantee the best quality of silk brand.
TRIDI has partnerships with different partners, China being part of these collaborations, has had their Chinese experts coming into Uganda, to train some of the staff in basic production skills. TRIDI plans to continue to enhance staff skills tailored based on the market specifications.
Clet explains that, soon, TRIDI will have the European silk entrepreneurs and engineers, too, coming in to Uganda, from where the silk yarn grade test was done, to see TRIDI’s cocoon quality, machine and production environment, and after they have investigated these, they can provide suggestions in order to improve the quality to produce Grade 6A silk yarn.
“Once we perfect the grade 6A production skills, the current 2300 mulberry acreage shall produce approximately 100 Metric tons of silk yarn which if we maintain Grade 6A we shall earn USD12,000,000 (ugx43.2B) annually. If, however we produce average grade we should be able to USD5,000,000 (UGX18B) annually. At this acreage, the project will directly employ 3000 people. The minimum wage bill of these 3000 people shall be UGX10.8B. The taxes to Uganda government shall be approx. UGX2B annually. A kg of yarn produces 10 meters of silk cloth/fabric. The price for silk fabric ranges from USD10 – 20 per meter depending on grade. Silk is known as queen of fabric and hence the most expensive.” Mr. Masiga adds.
With all that is going in the progressing of the silk industry, it is affirmative that Uganda is headed for a steady fast growing and boosted economy in the future, as long as the government renders all the necessary support to the sericulture project, as promised.
Compiled and Written by Mercy Scarlet Kigai, P.R.O TRIDI