NAEB and Korean firm Heworks signs MoU to boost silk industry in Rwanda

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2016-08-12 17:00:00 – Africa

The National Agriculture Export Board (NAEB) and Heworks Rwanda Silk Ltd, a Korean-based private company have signed an MoU to improve silk production and boost silk industry in Rwanda. According to the 10-year MoU signed on Tuesday to focus on the production of raw silk, silk yarn and other silk products as well as purchasing of fresh cocoons produced from sericulture farmers by the Korean company.

The company, which will initially invest $5.2 million, will purchase entire silk cocoons produced in Rwanda by cooperatives and individual farmers. It will also set up a center of excellence as a training facility for local farmers and also for the production of silkworm eggs used for cocoon production.

The partnership also envisages collaboration to develop the silk industry in the country especially increasing the production of cocoons and silkworm eggs.

The two parties will also collaborate in processing dried cocoons by using the reeling factory, equipped with the automated reeling machine. The factory will be constructed by the government in the Kigali Special Economic Zone while Heworks will install machines for drying and processing cocoons into silk yarn.

Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources Dr Geraldine Mukeshimana witnessed the signing ceremony at the ministry head offices in Kigali.

Mukeshimana said that the agreement is instrumental to the development of the sericulture industry in Rwanda. The minister said that the firm will work with NAEB to enhance production capacity of the sericulture industry as well as provide farmers a ready market.

The minister commended Heworks’ commitment toward promoting Rwanda’s sericulture industry, and pledged government’s full support to the company.

The project is an important milestone in the country’s campaign to increase export volumes and value. It will also help improve farmers’ livelihoods through increased income, and also strengthen the country’s export promotion strategy.

Heworks will be setting up a centre of excellence that will serve as a training facility for farmers and other stakeholders along the silk value chain.

Eric Mbonigaba, the National Sericulture Centre manager, said that 20 hectares of land have been allocated in Rwamagana District for mulberry production.

Under the agreement, NAEB will collaborate with Heworks to set the farm gate price of fresh cocoons produced by farmers.

The two parties will also collaborate on value-addition along the value chain. NAEB will initially set up a processing plant with support from IFAD through PRICE project, while the investor will install machines for drying and processing cocoons into silk yarn. Once production rises, the two parties will collaborate in processing dried cocoons, and another factory will be constructed by Heworks. Heworks will be responsible for transporting the cocoons from collection centres to the reeling factory.

The export will organize sericulture farmers to increase quality and quantity of cocoons produced at co-operative and individual household level.

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