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25.10.2002 General News

FAO to help Ghana produce silk

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The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations is to make available to Ghana more than ¢3.1 billion ($384,000) to produce silk for domestic consumption and export.

It will also provide technical expertise to build the capacity of farmers in the industry to produce sufficient and high quality silk as well as promote the development of the industry in Ghana.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Major Courage Quashigah (rtd) who made this known was speaking at the launching of the Sericulture and Silk Processing Development Project in Ghana in Accra yesterday. He noted that the assistance will also come in the form of equipment such as machinery for reeling and weaving to promote the industry.

Major Quashigah said the technical co-operation between the government and the FAO in the development of sericulture, which is the science of producing silk, will serve to boost the President's Special Initiative on textile and garments in the Golden Age of Business. He assured farmers engaged in sericulture of his ministry's support because of the "enormous potential it has for generating huge revenue for the nation if adequately exploited."

The minister said the project has the potential to generate employment opportunities for many people, especially in the rural areas as well as lead to the establishment of cottage industries.

He disclosed that besides the support the ministry will give to research initiatives in sericulture and other fields, it will also explore the possibility of introducing sericulture in agricultural colleges in the country.

The FAO Representative in Ghana, Mr Anatolio Ndong Mbah, said next week a South Korean cocoon processing expert will arrive in the country to embark on the building of capacity in the industry which will be followed later by two Indian experts.

He said the technical co-operation between Ghana and FAO in the development of the sericulture industry will take 20 months and will aim at enhancing the activities of small scale farmers in silk production and strengthening the institutional capacity of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in the sericulture sciences and management in cocoon production and processing techniques.

The Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, Mrs Gladys Asmah, on her part said, women and children constitute about 70 per cent of the population, and this is an excellent avenue that can provide jobs for the youth on the streets who are engaged in all kinds of trade, and women who are not gainfully employed.

She said her ministry will collaborate with the ministries of Food and Agriculture and Trade and Industries to see how best they can take full advantage of the benefits of sericulture to enhance the living standards of the people.

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