21 May 2010

Rwanda: Utexrwa, Rhoda to Boost Silk Production

Kigali — Textile manufacturer, UTEXRWA, and the Rwanda Horticulture Development Authority (RHODA) have embarked on a joint programme to train youth in sericulture, with the aim of boosting silk production in the country, Sericulture involves rearing of silkworms as a raw material to produce silk.

Speaking to The New Times, the Managing Director of UTEXRWA, Raj-Rajendram, announced that 50 members from nine silk cooperatives in Kigali city have concluded the 30-day training workshop. 50 more will undergo the training next month.

"We want to have trained youths on sericulture from several silk cooperatives to raise production and this will increase employment opportunities to the youth," Rajendram said.

The training that was funded by USAID, through the Education Development Center (EDC), consisted of technical silk worm rearing, mulberry cultivation and sericulture and cocoon production.

Rajendram added that more land has been targeted to meet the increasing demand for silk.

"So far there are only 300 hectares which is very small. At least 1000 hectares of land is needed in to meet the production needed," Rajendram said.

According to Rajendram, the silk cooperatives will be able to get silk yarns to advance sericulture and hence reduce transport costs.

Rajendram said Utexrwa is capable of consuming 480 KG of cocoons of silk fibre per day.

Pontiano Nemeye, in charge of capacity building at RHODA, told The New Times that the silk production project is in line with fighting poverty, especially in rural areas.

"So far, 30 more silk cooperatives are in the pipeline across the country. We are still registering more," Nemeye said.

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