The Cambodian silk industry is characterized by a strong skills base and a long traditional heritage. Silk is becoming an increasingly significant item in the countryâ€™s export basket and is an important source of employment for women and households in rural areas. The National Silk Board (NSB) set to open by next year aims to strengthen regulations and boost investor confidence in Cambodiaâ€™s silk industry.
Adviser to the planned NSB, Pheanuroth Sisowat, speaking at a workshop aimed at developing networks between raw silk producers and silk product producers said that both investment and export opportunities would increase with the establishment of NSB that will help coordinate the industryâ€™s efforts.
Sisowath said that the Cambodian silk industry is considered significant to economic growth and once the NSB is set up, there will be a lot of funding to boost the sector. In order to become more competitive at the international level, improvements must be made in productivity, quality and design techniques, as well as supporting institutional structures.
Policies related to the formation of NSB have been finalized and would be soon submitted to Council Ministers to review, then to the Cambodian Prime Minister to sign off.
Men Sinoeun, executive director of Artisan Angkor Cambodia, an organisation that helps support Cambodian handmade products, said that the production of golden silk sourced from a silkworm from Cambodia, has decreased from 10 tonnes per year to less than 1 tonne per year in 2014.
Silkworms living in polluted environments produce poor quality silk, and less of it. Moreover when farmers make use pesticides in their fields, the pesticide smell is carried in the wind to silkworm dwellings, making less healthy.
With the establishment of the National Silk Board, Cambodian silk market is expected to expand and grow. As approximately 66% of employees in silk companies and some 98% of weavers are women, located in various provinces of the country including Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Kandal, Phnom Penh, Prey Veng, Siem Reap, Stung Treng and Takeo.
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