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Milking silk for all its worth

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Hiroshi Uematsu, CEO of Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (left), Mey Kalyan, chairman of the board of trustees at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and the main person behind the Khmer Silk Research Centre (C) and Ea Hoknym, leader of the Aoral Silk Community in Kampong Speu (R). KT/Sok Chan

To participate in reviving sericulture – silk farming – in the Kingdom and boost the living standards of rural people, the private sector and development partners as well as financial institutions have now jointly participated in the effort, said chairman of the board of trustees at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP).

A foundation for reviving sericulture had been established by a team, led by RUPP’s Khmer Silk Centre, silk leaders in Kampong Speu, Mondulkiri and Battambang provinces – and the communities around them.

The efforts have been made to have joint research RUPP-Mondulkiri province on silkworm breeding and egg-production because Mondulkiri seems to present a very high potential for sericulture. “There we can also involve minority communities,” said Mey Kalyan, chairman of the board of trustees at RUPP and the main person behind the silk research centre.

“Reviving sericulture needs a long-term effort and participation from many players. Now this effort is widely known to many people and institutions. In addition to the embassy of Japan and the United Nation Development Programme, now Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone and CIMB bank are starting to join in this effort,” Kalyan said.

He added that CIMB Bank will assist with some important equipment for use in the silk centre and scholarships for students who work hard to study and advance various research work at it.

Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSEZ) is helping to plant mulberry trees – the creatures’ favourite food – for use by the Khmer Silk Centre. At the same time, it will create greenery in PPSEZ, said Hiroshi Uematsu, chief executive officer of PPSEZ.

He said the silk industry is very special for the Japanese because it was the first product it exported when Japan started to industrialise. Uematsu added that industralisation will improve the living conditions of rural people.

“To revive the Cambodian silk industry and what we can do to support this, we found that planting mulberry trees by utilising unused space in our land would be an effective way. By planting trees, we can also increase the greenery in our zone. Cambodia needs to industrialise. PPSEZ is playing a key role on that,” Uematsu said.

“We hope that this project will contribute a bit on the healthy development of this country,” he added.

Kalyan has appealed to individuals, institutions, and communities to join hands in this effort, to create jobs for rural people – in particular women – and to benefit the rural economy.

“The tasks and volume of work are just so big, everyone can join in,” he said.

The Khmer Silk Centre last week announced that it has succeeded in its research of an artificial diet for silkworms. This was formed by mixing mulberry leaves with certain vitamins and makes the worms bigger more quickly.

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