UGANDAN FARMERS TO BENEFIT FROM UGX740T SERICULTURE PROJECT
By Our Reporter
The Minister of Science Technology and Innovation Dr Elioda Tumwesigye has said that Ugandan farmers are set to earn between shs13-15m annually from sericulture; the rearing of silk worms for the production of silk fabric. “We are now almost confident that if a farmer looks after his/her mulberry farm very well, from one acre in a year the farmer can be able to rear and produce 1000kgs of cocoons, and this will fetch the farmer between shs13-15m,” he said. He made this statement on Tuesday during and oversight visit together with MPs from the Science Technology and Innovations committee at the Namasumbi Sericulture Technologies and Innovations in Uganda satellite Project in Mukono District.
The Minister also stated that there is actual production of mulberry and cocoon rearing in 14 districts of Uganda among which include Namasumbi, Sheema, Zombo, Paliisa, Iganga among others.
Clet Wandui Masiga; the Principle Investigator of the project said that the USD200M project will be bring in returns of USD100M annually from the production, processing and selling of the silk finished products to both local and the international market especially in Europe and Asia. On how the farmers will and community will benefit from the project, he had this to say/
“Farmers will come here for capacity building, where they will learn and go and practice. They will also produce the mulberry leaves, and sell to us for those who don’t want to go into silk worm rearing. For those who don’t want to go into rearing, we have the facility where they are going to bring the silk cocoons to process, where they will either sell to us or to other buyers. The neighbours have started earning a livelihood by being employed on the farm whereby currently we have about 490 casual labourers, and 62 permanent technical staff,” Masiga explained.
On when the plant will start actual production and processing of the silk worm cocoons, he said that it will take about five months to install the machinery, train staff and thereafter they will be good to go. The plant will be producing 100 tonnes of silk annually which will be bringing in USD100M, and the recovery of the USD200M Investment will be five years after which there will be constant harvest of the cocoons and production of mulberry plant on the 15 acre land donated by the Catholic Church.
The Minister with the STI committee MPs thereafter visited the proposed site for the proposed National Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation Skills Enhancement project site in Namanve which will be completed in two years with funding from the government and a loan of USD84.7M from Exim Bank of China. The chairman of the Committee Hon. Bwino Fred Kyakulaga said that they were impressed by works being done at the Namasumbi and Namanve sites, and said that more funding will be approved for the projects so that they are fast tracked to promote Science, technology and innovation in the country.