SERICULTURE: Members of Parliament on the Committee of Science, Technology and Innovation have expressed concern over the delayed payment of workers operating in the sericulture project saying that it could be the biggest problem hindering its growth around the country.
Sericulture is the art and science of rearing silkworms by breeding, rearing and domesticating caterpillars (larvae) for the production of raw silk. Bombyx mori species is particularly used for cultivating silk. Whereas other specific silkworms such as Eri, Muga, and Tasar are also used for cultivating wild silk.
The committee led by Hon. Achia Remigio was informed that out of 110 people hired to work on the Kayunga Bale based farm, only 30 were currently working under the Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI).
“We have met very many casual labourers on most Sericulture farms, but to our surprise, many people have quit the project making it hard for it to move as planned,” Remigio said.
The committee is on a fact finding mission of all sericulture technologies and innovation project farms to assess the implementation of all funds allocated to TRIDI.
The project aims to increase the production of silk by raising silkworms for industrial use.
The Committee also heard that, in the districts of Sheema, Iganga, Mukono, Busitema, Buikwe, Kween, and Nwoya, the technical staff mainly researchers, factory operators and extension workers have quit their jobs.
The committee was further informed that most workers were last paid in May 2022.
The Executive Director of the Institute, who also doubles as the Project Chief Investigator, Clet Wandui Masiga said that the majority of workers abandoned the different sites to look for income elsewhere.
Masiga said that it is hard for the project to keep up the mulberry plantation gardens that feed the silkworms and train more workers for the two factories in Kween and Sheema Districts.
The government started funding silk production in 2018. About 2,230 acres of mulberry have been established across the country and three factories have been established in Mukono, Kween, and Sheema districts.
If the project is properly managed, Masiga said, at a gross investment of about Shs800 billion, the country would stand to earn Shs2.8 trillion annually within five years.
Masiga added that the out growers would also earn Shs1.7 trillion within the same period of time.
Credit: Parliament of Uganda