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19.04.2004 Business & Finance

Wassa West farmers to begin Silk Farming

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Bogoso (W/R), April 19, GNA - The United Nations, through the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has provided 400,000 dollars for consultancy services into the development and promotion of sericulture in Ghana.

Sericulture is the science of producing silk in large quantities for agro-industrial ventures and for the production of fabrics and other silk based products by individuals and groups.

Under the project, individuals and communities within Wassa West District would be encouraged to own silkworms, feed them on mulberry leaves while the worms would emit fluids which would be processed into silk.

Doctor Paul Kwasi Ntaadu, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) consultant on sericulture, disclosed this at a community and media tour of the Bogoso Gold Limited (BGL) at Bogoso on Saturday.

He said apart from the project providing income and job avenues for the people, the fruits of the mulberry plant could be processed into jam and other delicacies while the leaves could also be used for medicinal purposes.

Dr Ntaadu, who is also the founder and director of the Sericulture Promotion and Development Association, said the BGL had taken delivery of 80,000 silkworm eggs for processing under the Alternative Livelihood Project (ALP).

He said the company adopted the ALP as part of a programme to assist neighbouring communities to become self-reliant and create employment opportunities for their people.

Dr Ntaadu said silk farmers could harvest between 20 and 30 kilograms of cocoons at least four times within a year and that the benefits from the silkworm project could exceed that of cocoa, if taken seriously.

The company has set up a mulberry demonstration farm and a house for the silkworms to enable the eggs to hatch while farmers would be trained on the care, temperature and feeding patterns of the worm. Mr Samuel Agyeman, the ALP manager, said BGL had also started a fish-farming project for communities and that currently, some farmers were being trained on the construction, maintenance, feeding and harvesting of fish.

Mr Agyeman said to ensure the success of the ALP, farmers were being assisted with seeds, fertilizers, Wellington boots, weedicides and spraying machines.

He appealed to the beneficiaries to concentrate on their respective projects and ensure its success so that other beginners could also learn from them.