SILKWORMS GENERATE INCOME IN NEGROS OCCIDENTAL
SILKWORMS GENERATE INCOME IN NEGROS OCCIDENTAL
SERICULTURE, also known as silk farming, has a long and colorful history. It is said to have begun in China around 4,000 years ago. The process involves rearing silkworms and harvesting the fibers they produce.

In the Philippines, an extension center located in Bago City, Negros Occidental practices sericulture through a project established by The Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement-International (OISCA), an organization committed to promoting international cooperation.

Ranelo Altire, a sericulture technician from the OISCA-Bago Training Center, oversees the sericulture farm in the area and is in charge of training farmers on everything – from silkworm rearing to harvesting silk fibers.

Silkworms are the larval form of the domesticated silk moth (Bombyx mori). They produce long, thin fibers, known as silk, to create cocoons.

He explained that in sericulture, the farmers have to pay close attention to their silkworms from start to finish because the larvae can be fragile and the farmers have no means of a cure should their charges get sick.

Altire has been working in the extension center for 19 years and has both knowledge and experience in his arsenal when it comes to sericulture.

GETTING STARTED

For farmers interested in being part of the OISCA Negros Sericulture Project, Altire warns them about the process they’re about to go through.

Before farmers can avail of silkworms from the training center, their first step requires them to set up a rearing house complete with cocooning frames where silkworms can reproduce when they mature.

“Rearing houses and cocooning frames may be expensive, so the center helps farmers acquire the proper facilities by lending a certain amount of money that the farmers can pay back once they’ve gained income from the silkworms,” the sericulture technician said.

The silkworm variety used by the center is a crossbreed from two types imported from Japan and China. After acquiring the foreign varieties, the technicians at the center reared them under Philippine conditions to acclimatize the type for a higher production rate in the future.

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January 2020