GASABO – UTEXRWA, a local textile company, in partnership with Kigali City, is to form silk production cooperatives in Kigali city which will help in producing and increasing growing of the mulberry plant which is a raw material in making silk cloths.
This was revealed by the Utexrwa Managing Director, Raj Rajendran yesterday during his meeting with the Kigali City Vice Mayor in charge of Social Affairs, Jeanne d’ Arc Gakuba.
Rwanda’s first silk fabric produced by Utexrwa is expected on the market early next month which will see silk ties and Umushanana (traditional attire for women) availed on the local market earlier than expected.
“We want to form three cooperatives in all the three districts of Kigali which will help in speeding up the silk production and processing in Rwanda,” said Rajendran.
According to Rajendran, a farmers’ cooperatives to help in the growing of Mulberry plants on which the silk worms feed, Weavers cooperatives, and a cooperative which will be producing machines to be used by the weavers will be formed.
He said that Utexrwa will train trainers who will thereafter teach other members of the cooperatives and two people from each district will be trained by experts in those respective fields.
“The reason we want to involve the weaving industry is because we need to create another consumption sector in the country which can utilize the not so good cocoons and produce something out of it,” added Rajendran.
He also revealed that out of the produced silk cocoons, 30 per cent may be good for use by the textile industry like Utexrwa and the remaining percentage can be consumed by the weaving industry.
Rajendran says that this project and others in the offing like the mosquito nets manufacturing project are expected to increase the income of the company from the current $7 million annual turnover to $70m in a period of three years from now.
He also says that this will see increase in the company’s workforce from the current 730 to over 6000 employees in a period of five years.
The Vice Mayor promised the City’s full support to the cooperatives’ project and agreed to avail the people needed for the trainings.
“The Kigali City, like the whole country, has stepped up the fight against poverty and we need such brilliant ideas of innovation that can help develop our people,” said Gakuba.
She also said that the youth and women cooperatives in Kigali were ready to learn these innovations by the project and she expressed optimism that by the end of the year, some fruits will have been borne because of the existing will.
“Through partnership between the City, Utexrwa and cooperatives, we shall make it,” said Gakuba.
Rwanda’s silk cocoons are ranked number one in the world which is attributed to the country’s climatic conditions suitable for silk rearing.
Rwanda also has the capacity to have ten cycles in a year which is the highest in the world followed by India with six while in Europe it is two cycles only.