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Strategy for sericulture revival and development

The preconditions/prospects for regional sericulture revival and development:

  • Very long tradition and experience in sericulture: In the countries of Black, Caspian seas and Central Asia region the sericulture industry was adopted around 4,000-1,500 years ago through the so called "great silk road". These countries used to produce annually more than 50,000 t of fresh cocoons and about 5,000 t raw silk until the end of 1980??s what was approximately 10 % of the total world production. The main cocoon/silk producers in the region, such as Uzbekistan, Iran and Tajikistan are still one of the leading world cocoon producers, the whole region occupying the 3 rd place after China and India.
  • Availability of more than 200 million middle/high ?C stem mulberry trees in the region as valuable natural resources which are enough for an annual production of about 50000 ton of fresh cocoon/year.
  • Favorable climatic conditions allowing to produce high quality bivoltine cocoons.
  • Still comparatively low farmer??s incomes in most of these countries.
  • Since the production is done mostly by rural women who do not participate in active agricultural production, thus idle workforce is made valuable, secret unemployment is prevented in rural areas, high income is provided in short time and agricultural income is distributed more balanced.
  • Although the sericulture farmers from the region could presently do rearing once a year, as their fresh cocoons are bought by cash payment they can afford to buy the necessary equipments by this financial aid for their other kind of agricultural productions which mainly start in the beginning of summer season.
  • Some of those countries are members or candidates for joining to EU, where some subsidies for stimulation of sericulture development are provided by the European commission.
  • There are comparatively well developed sericulture science, such as rich mulberry and silkworm genetic resources, own production of mulberry saplings and silkworm eggs.
  • There is an increasing demand within the European countries for natural and biological products. The economical standards of the European population permit the consumption of such products even in high prices and it is apparent that silk items every day get deeper in the life of the European consumer.
  • Some silk companies from the region already succeeded in finding new markets for their raw silk/silk allied products.
  • In some of those countries foreign investors, having safe markets for their silk products have already been attracted.
  • The region is a traditional producer of world famous silk handcraft items, such as silk carpets and rugs.
  • The region is nearby the big European silk market and could be created as an alternative supplier.
  • There is a global trend for increase of silk price.

Importance of sericulture in the Black, Caspian seas and Central Asia region:

  • The sericulture is a common culture of Black, Caspian seas and Central Asia region for thousands of years. Nowadays, sericulture is tried to be kept alive since it is accepted as a cultural product as well as for its economic values.
  • S ericulture is one of the important potential agro-industry in the Black, Caspian seas and Central Asia region, now that the increasing number of farmers, i.e. approximately 500000 households are involved in order to generate their income resources, and another about 3 million people are engaged in the silk processing industry and trading. S ericulture is going on as an economic, cultural and traditional sub-branch of agriculture.
  • Sericulture has an enormous potential as a source of income in the Black, Caspian seas and Central Asia region because with proper support, about 2 million farmers could probably earn approximately US$450 - 500 per crop/family and involves marginal sectors of the society, contributing to the improvement of its standard of life.


Strategy activities (what and how should be done):

1. Creation a common institution in order to facilitate and expedite regional collaboration: During the international workshop, held in Tashkent in April 2005 a Black, Caspian Seas and Central Asia Silk Association (BACSA) was created. Main structure, basic functions and workplan have already been prepared.
2. Prepare and search for possible donors for funding a project of sericulture industries revival in the Black, Caspian seas and Central Asia countries : A draft project proposal has already been prepared and will be possibly included in FAO??s system for donor search.
3. Prepare a draft project proposal in development of methods and means for innovation of the cocoon/silk production and processing technique and technology: Search for relevant experts for making the project and funding agency.
4. Make bilateral and multilateral contracts between the countries of region about exchange of genetic resources of silkworm and mulberry, scientific and technical, technological and other helpful information : Between some of region countries already exist agreements made for scientific and technical cooperation. Such kind of agreements have been signed between institutions from Bulgaria and Ukraine , Greece , Azerbaijan , Georgia and Romania . Similar bilateral agreements can be made also between some of the other region countries. BACSA could mediate in making agreements for bilateral or multi-lateral cooperation between the member countries.
5. Open a BACSA web site .
6. In order to provide overseas training,modern laboratory facilities and equipment etc. the local governments/sericulture institutes should make efforts to establish contacts with the possible donors such as FAO, UNDP, JICA, KOICA, European Commission etc. and to prepare draft project proposals according to the requirement of the respective financing organization : The organizing of periodic regional workshops, where the most prospective donors are invited to participate would facilitate this process. The FAO experts helped in some of the region countries in preparing draft TCP project proposals, for possible financing by FAO. A project proposal for sericulture development in Bulgaria has been prepared and submitted to KOICA.
7. Organize comparative testing of commercial silkworm hybrids in three member countries, and giving recommendations regarding the most suitable hybrids for the region: This testing could be started in the spring of 2006 by choose of three sericulture institutes/stations in three different countries for making the testing. Each member country, producing hybrid eggs may suggest 2 the best hybrids for comparative testing along with 2 hybrids from each China , India , Italy , Japan , Republic of Korea and Thailand for comparison with the best world standards.
8. Promote the Black, Caspian seas and Central Asia region as a source for providing technical assistance, mulberry saplings and silkworm eggs to the newly sericulture developing countries from Africa, Latin America, Near East etc. : During the last two years through FAO Bulgarian silkworm eggs and technical assistance ha ve been provided to Ghana. For the period 1998-2003 the Sericulture Experiment Station in Vratza provided silkworm eggs, mulberry saplings and technical assistance to Libya, Egypt, Uganda and Zimbabwe. In cooperation with FAO, BACSA will facilitate making such kind of contacts for technical assistance between the region and the newly sericulture developing countries.
9. Organize an "International workshop on conservation status and utilization of sericulture genetic resources in the Black, Caspian seas and Central Asia region" : The workshop may be held in the second half of 2006, or first half of 2007 and financed by several sources, one of them could probably be the FAO.
10. Making feasibility studies in order to plan some new production areas, especially in the regions where national income per capita is quite low comparing with the other parts of the country: Since the economical situation in the region has changed very much during the last 15 years, the most appropriate regions for cocoon production are the remote areas, where the living standard and income resources of the population are comparatively low. These studies shall be one of the objectives of the future regional sericulture revival project.
11. . Promotion development of traditional silk handcraft production, as value added products and additional way to utilize the locally produced cocoons/raw silk and provide income resources to a huge number of people: T he region countries are included in FAO?? international activities for promotion of silk handcraft cottage industries development by organizing periodic international workshops, which main purpose is to provide an international forum to facilitate discussions and information exchange on support policy, technology and trade.
12. Each region country should develop a national strategy for sericulture revival and development and integrate it in their national development plans : Such kind of strategies have already been developed in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia and Uzbekistan. In Uzbekistan as a result of the workshop, held in April 2005 the government has already approved measures for sericulture development. In Bulgaria on 14 June 2005 at Agrarian university of Plovdiv the National coordinator , and the President of BACSA organized a " National meeting - discussion on the problems of sericulture revival and development " . As results of the meeting a national strategy and the urgent measures for sericulture revival, which shall be submitted to the government have been accepted.
13. In the middle term future the export/import of silk products in the region countries could have the figures below:

No
Country
Export
Import
   
Dry cocoons and raw silk
Silk fabrics and garment
Silk carpets and rugs
Dry cocoons and raw silk
Silk fabrics and garment
Silk carpets and
rugs
1
Albania
*
*
   
*
*
 
Armenia
*
*
   
*
 
2
Azerbaijan
*
*
*
     
3
Bulgaria
*
*
   
*
 
4
Georgia
*
*
   
*
 
5
Greece
 
*
 
*
*
*
6
Iran
   
*
*
*
 
7
Kazakhstan
*
         
8
Kyrgyzstan
*
         
9
Romania
*
*
   
*
 
10
Russia
     
*
*
*
11
Tajikistan
*
 
*
     
12
Turkey
 
*
*
*
*
*
13
Turkmenistan
*
         
14
Ukraine
*
*
   
*
 
15
Uzbekistan
*
*
*
     

 

Silk products

Countries, possible exporters

Countries, possible consumers

Dry cocoon and raw silk

Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

Greece , Iran , Russia , Turkey

Silk fabrics and garment

Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine

Silk carpets and rugs

Afghanistan , Azerbaijan , Iran , Tajikistan , Turkey and Uzbekistan

Albania , Greece , Russia , Turkey

 

13. Considering the above figures, it could be concluded that in the short-middle term future the silk industry in the region should be mostly oriented to export. It's obvious that the local market of silk products is too small. Since Greece and Turkey can not produce enough raw silk to meet their demands they import raw silk and silk yarn. If the countries of the region such as Uzbekistan , Azerbaijan , Bulgaria , Romania , Georgia etc. can meet the standard requirement, Greece and Turkey may be a good market for them. Greece, Bulgaria and Romania could play an important role by developing of some silk product processing and distribution centres and acting as a bridge between E.U. and other countries of the Black, Caspian Seas and Central Asia Region, by moving their raw materials to processing and also moving their silk products to the promising European market.
On the other hand the region has a very big potential for silk export to the Western European countries, the USA , Japan , Republic of Korea , Russia and Arabic countries.
14. Taking into the consideration that sericulture is a specific and cultural industry, it is compulsory to keep on taking financial support from government on fresh cocoon farmers: Silkworm rearing activity within the European Union (EU) countries such as Greece is considered as one of the protected and promoted agro-industry components, being subsidized by around Euro 1 34 per box of 20000 eggs reared and obtaining a fresh cocoon yield not less than 20 kg per box (~ 6.7 Euro/kg subsidy) . Replacement of traditional annual crops like the industrial ones (cotton, sugar beet, tobacco, maize, etc) by perennial ones, like trees, including mulberry, is promoted as well within the European Union, being subsidized by all the installation costs and the calculated loss of income for twenty years. The above two subsidies reflect to a combined support of silkworm rearing, both as direct rearing and as mulberry cultivation as well. Cocoon reeling, silk processing industry and small silk enterprises can be subsidized as well by E.U. and also within the national development programs, especially in some regions where the subsidy can reach 65% of the total installation cost. Such kind of supports could be expected also for Bulgaria and Romania in near future and to other Black sea region countries, who are going to join EU in the middle/long term future. In Turkey the government provides a support for the sector by paying Direct Income Supporting Fee to the fresh cocoon farmers for per kilo produced fresh cocoon. Even not very high, such kind of subsidies to the purchasing price of fresh cocoons have also been provided in Romania and Ukraine . It's necessary the National coordinators of BACSA to make efforts in order to include sericulture in the national priorities and its stimulation through subsidies, directed to cocoon farmers.
15. Promotion the region as very promising for foreign investments in sericulture industry: Through the respective governments, internet, mass media and workshops. The useful Uzbek and Tajik experience in this field should be used by the other countries.

 

 


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