Farmers urged to go into silk biz

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Monday, October 24, 2011

THE Fiber Industry Development Authority (Fifa) is encouraging farmers to venture into the silk business to have additional means of livelihood for their families.

The industry is characterized by various activities such as silkworm egg production, cocoon production, reeling operation, weaving and made-up goods manufacturing. These phases of production and manufacturing are done by both the government and the private sector.

Fida said commercial raw silk production is now undertaken mostly by the Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement in its filature plant in Bago City with a rated capacity of around 625 kilos a month.


Cocoon production is done either by individual farmers or by farmers’ groups who tend the mulberry farms since mulberry leaves are the sole food of the silkworm. Fida said about 300 farmers are engaged in this endeavor.

“Local silk fabrics presently available in the market are primarily produced by local handloom weavers using either pure silk or silk blended with other natural fibers like abaca and piña,” it added.

The plain weaves are usually embroidered and made into barong Tagalog, table napkins, tablecloths, handkerchiefs, shawls and other novelty items. The hand-woven silk with design is made into high fashion garments and accessories.

“Production of cocoons for the past 10 years had been unsteady, recording years of robust growth as well as declining outputs,” Fida said, adding that the full-scale development of the silk industry is hampered by the lack of interest among farmers and investors to venture into the silk business.

Other industry problems and constraints include minimal private sector participation in cocoon and raw silk processing; uncompetitive price of raw silk compared to imports; lack of silk yarn processing facilities; limited downstream processing technologies; and absence of financing scheme to support production and marketing activities, among others. (CGC)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 24, 2011.


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