The 2nd Cambodian Silk and Weaving Exhibition will be held from November 21 to 24 in Siem Reap town in an effort to promote the industry and boost its development, the Ministry of Commerce has said.
The exhibition will be held at the Royal Independence Gardens at the intersection of Charles de Gaulle Street with National Road 6 in Slakram commune.
“The exhibition aims to promote the development of the silk sector, which has long been recognised as a Cambodian cultural heritage. It makes a significant contribution to Cambodians and the national economy in terms of creating incomes and job opportunities,” the ministry said.
Mey Kalyan, the chairman of the board of directors at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) – where the Khmer Silk Centre was launched to research silk and its development – told The Post on Wednesday that silk and weaving events had been helpful in promoting the Kingdom’s silk products and attracting investment.
He said that while the demand for silk products continues to increase, cultivation has not grown significantly.
“A lack of investment has led to Cambodia importing around 99 per cent of its silk from abroad to supply the domestic market. The sector presents a high potential market and lucrative opportunities,” Kalyan said.
Cambodian yarn production accounts for only one per cent of domestic consumption, while imports account for 99 per cent, equivalent to more than 400 tonnes per year. The Kingdom imports most of its silk from China, the National Silk Strategy Report 2016-2020 stated.
To produce around 400 tonnes of silk per year, Cambodia needed more than 30,000ha of land for mulberry trees, Kalyan said.
He said involvement from the private sector and all relevant stakeholders was essential for the success of Cambodia’s silk industry.
Mulberry cultivation and silkworm-rearing techniques were now widespread in the Kingdom, he said. While 70 to 80 of 100 silkworms raised would have previously died, the figure had dropped to around five.
He acknowledged that the quality of Cambodian silk was not as high as that of its competitors, but expressed confidence that it would improve over time.
With the Khmer Silk Centre having opened at RUPP, Kalyan said its “silk research team is working hard to develop the silk industry” in the Kingdom.
Top grade “gold” mulberry silk currently costs around $100 per kilogramme, while second grade silk prices start at $70, Kalyan said.
Chhim Sopheak, the director of the Ministry of Commerce’s Product Development Office, said some 30 booths have been reserved. This year’s event will be more “special” than the first one and also showcase the quality of weaving products, he said.