• Short Summary

    A successful silkworm experiment by the Kenyan National Youth Service has opened up possibilities for a valuable new export industry to assist the country's balance of payments.

  • Description

    A successful silkworm experiment by the Kenyan National Youth Service has opened up possibilities for a valuable new export industry to assist the country's balance of payments.

    The experiment -- the brainchild of the National Youth Service's Deputy Director, Mr. Waruhiu Itote -- could make Kenya Africa's second major silk exporter. Until the silkworm trail began in 1970 only the Malagasy Republic cultivated the Mulberry bushed necessary for silkworm production.

    Silkworm cultivation -- or sericulture -- is a delicate and complicated process, but one which can be carried out on a large scale .. to great profit. The name "silkworm" is inaccurate .. for the fact, the larva of the moth "Bombyx Mori. The larva -- only a few millimetres long when hatched -- eats its way through thousands of times its own weight of mulberry leaves as it grows.

    The larva produces its precious silk thread to spin a cocoon. If left untouched, the grub will change slowly within the cocoon to became a moth. But, for commercial silk production, the larva must be killed as soon as the cocoon is complete.

    This is done by drying the silk cases in hot air, boiling the cocoon for a short time, and then unwinding the fine thread for spinning. It is work that required sharp eyes and a delicate touch, despite the aid of machinery.

    Centres for the cultivation of mulberry bushes have been set up by the National Youth Service in various parts of Kenya. One farm, at Yatta, in the central Ukambani region, today produces thousands of tons of leaves to rear many thousands of small silkworms.

    The "cooked" cocoons from Yatta are sent to the Cocooners' Section of the Sirokiriri Industries in Nairobi, where workers have been trained to rewind the raw silk into marketable skeins, each weighing about 130 grams (4.4 ???) and worth about 2.20 pounds sterling 4.8 U.S. dollars).

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA54QE6J3W3E0227FI1G7LU0UF9
    Media URN:
    VLVA54QE6J3W3E0227FI1G7LU0UF9
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    08/09/1975
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:01:44:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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