Sericulture is an agro based industry. It involves rearing of silkworms for the production of raw silk, which is the yarn obtained out of cocoons spun by certain species of insects. The major activities of sericulture comprises of food - plant cultivation to feed the silkworm which spin silk cocoons and reeling the cocoons for unwinding the silk filament for value added benefits. These include processing and weaving. In many countries silk is used for clothing, including light weight suits, coats, slacks, jackets, shirts, neckties, robes, loungewear, hosiery, and gloves. Silk is also used in lace, napery, draperies, linings, narrow fabrics, handbags etc.
The manufacturing process of silk starts with the rearing of cocoons. There are many varieties of the silkworm from which the silk fiber can be obtained. However, it is found that the fiber obtained from the larva of Bombyxmori is of commercial value. The process of obtaining silk fiber from Bombyxmori requires careful nourishment of the cocoons which is put through the spinning process. Making of silk is different from that of other natural fibers. There are many steps involved in silk production.
The following steps are involved in silk production:
· Mulberry cultivation (Moriculture).
· Rearing of silk worms to produce Cocoons.
· Silk reeling to produce silk yarn.
Production of silk finished products (dyeing, weaving, cloth designs.
Rwanda’s natural conditions provide almost constant temperature of 20-28°C throughout the year. These are excellent conditions for rearing silkworm. Furthermore, field temperature of 20-35°C with consistent distribution of rainfall between 1,200-1,700 mm/year is good for mulberry cultivation
The government of Rwanda is working hard to upgrade silkworm stock through germ plasm enrichment with robust and high yielding races adaptable to Rwandan conditions in order to attract investors that will work with existing support structures to ensure that the Silk Value chain develops on a commercial and export focused basis.