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Locally bred silkworms put to use in K Speu

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A model of a silkworm is displayed at an industry conference in Phnom Penh earlier this year. Heng Chivoan

Locally bred silkworms put to use in K Speu

With help from the Kingdom’s Silk Research Centre, the sleepy sector is showing new signs of life with the first crop of worms from the institute’s breeding centre being put to use.

Aoral Silk Community was the first farm in Kampong Speu province to successfully produce yarn after receiving silkworm from the centre early in July.

Now, the Kingdom’s producers will be able to obtain high-quality silkworms from the centre, thanks to a specialised team seeking to boost the local industry.

Aoral Silk president Ea Hoknym said the worms given to them by the centre are showing good yields in their first few weeks.

“We are trying to convince more local people to join us, so I predict that the community will grow bigger by the end of the year,” said Hoknym, adding that it received 5,000 silkworm eggs from the centre’s laboratory.

“I can raise up to 20,000 worms if the centre can produce that much,” he said.

The Silk Research Centre is based at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), where researchers, including engineers, scientists and students are working to breed healthy worms for Cambodia’s silk producers.

RUPP chairman Mey Kalyan said this is just the first step in helping bolster the silk industry.

“Now that we have the foundation, we are trying our best to move forward step by step,” he said, adding that Aoral Silk has produced around five kilograms of silk yarn.

Made up of 20 families on 10 hectares, it is seeking to revive the country’s silk industry.

Kalyan stated that in order to equal the 400 tonnes of silk that the Kingdom imports each year, the country will need 10,000 hectares.

Seng Takakneary, the founder and managing director at SentoSaSilk, confirmed that there would be demand in the country for domestic silk.

“It’s just a start, but when they have enough of what we need we will be their customer, as we need tons of silk,” he said.

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