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FAO set to launch silk initiative

FAO set to launch silk initiative

THE UN’s Food and Agricultural Agency announced Thursday the launch of a US$475,000 programme with the government aimed at assisting Cambodia’s struggling silk sector.

The money will be spent on a silkworm egg-production centre, the location for which is still to be determined, the FAO’s country representative Ajay Markanday said Thursday. The FAO has not yet set a time frame for the initiative, which he described as a “pilot exercise”.

Seven demonstration farms will also be established in Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampot, Kampong Cham, Kratie, Pursat, Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey provinces, displaying new techniques for silkworm-rearing, an FAO press statement said. Agriculture ministry officials will be trained under the programme, it added.

“Silk is very important for [the Cambodian] rural economy, and poverty reduction, because it generates higher value-added than general crops such as rice,” said Markanday.

Domestic demand for silk is estimated at 400 tonnes per year, the FAO said, but less than 5 tonnes is produced annually, with the shortfall imported from China and Vietnam.

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