Rwanda’s sole textile company, Utexrwa, is planning to cultivate 1000 hectares of mulberry in the next twelve months to boost sericulture in the country.
The crop, from which a silkworm eats to produce the silk fiber is currently being cultivated on about 300ha across the three districts of Kigali.
Raj Rajendran, the company’s Managing Director, said last week that increasing mulberry cultivation will boost silk production.
“We are still training cooperatives across the country on skills of rearing and cultivating mulberry trees,” he said.
Utexrwa’s consumption for silk fiber stands at 480 kg of per day.
“Rwanda has only been able to produce two tonnes of cocoons (the raw material for silk worm) in the last two years. If 1,000 ha is cultivated, we will be able to consume 150 tonnes of silk yarn annually,” he said.
Silk yarn is the material that is drawn from the cocoons of mature silk worms that are spun and woven into fabric.
Utexrwa says that 1,000ha of mulberry trees would produce 750 tonnes of cocoons and 150 tonnes of yarn on average, annually.
The projections will follow the training of 100 youth from nine silk cooperatives within Kigali in collaboration with Rwanda Horticulture Development Authority (RHODA).
Utexrwa is also establishing handloom cooperatives countrywide to process the cocoons.