Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cambodia: Silk's Metamorphosis

Sericulture Project to Increase Silk Yarn Production

As the decline of Cambodia’s millennial silk industry continues, its demise seems ever more inevitable. But Economics Today can reveal that Cambodia’s silk industry is in metamorphosis, hopefully to emerge stronger than ever.

Reliant on adding value by weaving and almost completely dependent on imported silk thread, Cambodia’s silk industry has been touch and go for some time. While some organizations continue to run workshops producing tiny amounts of high quality silk for export, it is clear these artisans can offer little to the thousands of Cambodian weavers staring unemployment in the face.

But the potential for the production of silk in Cambodia remains the same; the long tradition in producing silk—since the Angkor-era— means the skills are here. Other Asian countries, including Cambodia’s neighbors Vietnam and Thailand, continue to produce silk profitably, offering valuable employment for rural communities.

A complete rethink is now underway, leaning towards market-dictated integrated domestic production.

Dr. Mey Kalyan, National Project Director and Secretary of State for the One Village One Product (OVOP) National Committee, told Economics Today that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is helping the Government revive silk production in Cambodia.

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