Sabunyo Noah, Fred Manirakiza and Clet Wandui Masiga
Sericulture project was introduced in Uganda in 1971 as a joint venture between the government of Uganda through the ministry of Agriculture and Japan government through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It started as a research activity at Kawanda research Institute in Uganda where mulberry nursery was established to start an experiment of rearing silkworm using the eggs from Japan. The Commercialization of Sericulture Technologies and Innovations in Uganda started in 2018 which is implemented by Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI) and funded by government of Uganda through the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations (MOSTI) with the aim of promoting the development of Silk Industry to create gainful employment and improved levels of income in sericulture through utilization of next generation sericulture technologies, innovations and management practices. Currently sericulture project in Uganda is implemented at thirty eight (38) National Sericulture Resources Research Stations country wide in twenty four (24) districts of Sheema, Mbarara, Kiruhura, Bulambuli, Kamuli, Mubende, Gomba, Mukono, Iganga, Luweero, Kayunga, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Kween, Bukedea, Zombo, Nwoya, Buikwe, Pallisa, Busia, Lira, Amolatar, Otuke, Agago and Pader with total of over 2,300 acres of well-established mulberry gardens and has bought new additional 800 acres of land in Kayunga, Bulambuli, Kween and Nwoya. Employing a total number of 1,539 permanent and temporary workers, the project has installed its first set of Post Cocoon Processing Factories and is almost to be complete in Sheema and Kween district. On 16 December 2022, Uganda sent its first silk yarn brand samples, branded Usilk for testing on the European market and the target was to meet the specifications for Grade 6A which is the best quality silk globally as a basis for commercial production. Despite all the achievements made, sericulture project has suffered number of challenges namely lack of operational funds to pay delayed salaries/wages for workers, many workers have lost their jobs, some workers have their lost their lives due to lack of money to cater for their medical treatment, cannot pay school fees for children, do not have what to eat who were relying on sericulture project for their livelihoods and difficult to maintenance the mulberry gardens.
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