Silk-making in Kenya

by Luigi Guarino on January 14, 2007

The Sunday Nation has a feature article in its Lifestyle section on silk making in the semi-arid district of Mwingi in Kenya. Apparently, the silk worm used is a hybrid of the wild species found in the area and the domestic strain. People collect eggs in the bush and rear them in mosquito net cages. When it comes time to harvest the cocoons, some of the pupae are allowed to mature and fly back to the acacia bushes. The Commercial Insect Programme of the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) has helped a local womens’ group establish the first silk processing factory in the region. According to the article, a different race of the wild silk moth is being evaluated in Pokot and other highland areas for the production of tussar or kosa silk. This is a much prized form of naturally coloured silk produced from cocoons from which the moth has emerged naturally in the wild. Fascinating business.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Njoki January 29, 2007 at 5:32 pm

I’d like some more information on silk farming. Where could I get it? Please send me the relevant contacts??

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Luigi January 30, 2007 at 8:47 am

From you name you seem Kenyan, is that correct? I did a quick search on the internet and it looks like ICIPE and UNDP are involved in support to silk farming in Kenya. Also an organization called Biovision.

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BETTY WEKHOMBA February 9, 2007 at 9:44 am

I would like to get information on silk worm rearing and get assistance to begin small time. Send me the relevant contacts.

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Luigi February 9, 2007 at 11:14 am

Hello there Betty. For contacts in Kenya, see my previous post above. Where are you located?

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Rose February 10, 2007 at 10:40 am

It looks a very interesting business. Please send me full information on silk farming, if this project can be done from any part of the country, climate conditions

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kevin February 16, 2007 at 9:43 am

hey luigi. i am really interested in silk rearing. i would like you to give me the details where i would get the eggs,mulberry leaves and the requirements for the rearing. thank you

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fred March 1, 2007 at 1:33 pm

hi, could you help me by sending to me the figure on the real amount of silk that are produced in kenya both from wild and the domesticated silk please give me also the contribution from the different parts of the country. thanks in advance. fred

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Joyce Wango April 11, 2007 at 1:17 pm

Hi,

I come from a cold area (tea growing zone). Would this kind of climate be ok for silk farming? If yes, I would like to try. Please send me more information on how to go about it.

Thank you

Joyce

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michael April 5, 2008 at 9:16 pm

hi, i would really love to know more about this silk farming, the climate, the economic gains and everyhting else that pertains to the business of silk. thanks

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Peter Chemweno June 18, 2008 at 12:38 pm

Hi,

Am a lecturer and reseacher in textile fibres from Moi University and keenly interested in sericulture. Would like to know how i could access contacts of farmers and resource persons in Riftvalley, Nyanza and western provinces of Kenya. Thanks

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Philip Wandera October 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm

What is the farmgate price for silk?

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cate February 3, 2009 at 7:35 pm

hello! please give me more details on silk in kenya, how is it sold and if it is spinned

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prisca wanjiru March 27, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Hi, could you help me by sending to me the figure on the real amount of silk that is produced in kenya both from wild and the domesticated silk please give me also the contribution from the different parts of the country especially near nairobi or nyeri in central kenya where I can find a sample. Thanks in advance.prisca

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Lucy Murira March 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm

i have been quite interested in butterfly farming. i have been looking fro information on the same particularly where to get butterflies for starting the project, type of feeding material, market for pupa.
i am situated in Meru boundaring Isiolo.
Kindly help with information.
Lucy.

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saida migalusha June 19, 2010 at 11:51 am

HALLO
I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW where the cocoons are sold after havest thanks

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Mandela October 9, 2010 at 5:23 pm

hi, I am interested in the silkworm farming, am based in kericho and wish to be involved in the venture how can i get the full information thank you in advance

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saida migalusha October 16, 2010 at 3:29 pm

hallo. am realy interested in doing the project how do i start where is it sold please fill me in very soon

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M.njogu January 24, 2011 at 11:56 am

HI, AM a trainer in the MLSD and i would request your assistance in silk culture since this is the way to go in kenya and am very much interested

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adrianus tinungki February 3, 2011 at 4:27 pm

saya minta tolong diberikan informasi tentang industri sutra emas, soalnya di daerah saya (sulut) sangat potensial untuk mengembangkan Circulla trifenestrata, tolong info ke email saya, thx

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Rosemary Mwololo Nyamu March 1, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Hello everyone that has a passion for sericulture. Am pleased to let you know that you can get all the information you need. Visit us at the National Sericulture Station-Thika (KARI grounds).
We offer trainings and guide you until you establish your business.
We also buy cocoon from farmers and also link them to other processors.
Yes sericulture is a way to go for Kenya as the climatic condition is conducive for the business.

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SYENGO JM January 2, 2014 at 7:08 pm

This is wonderful Rosemary.soon i will visit the place for more information.

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peter k chebii June 11, 2011 at 2:54 pm

kindly i need some clarification on whether the existing cotton gineries or other textile factories could process the silk? we have farmers in the north rift who are willing to engage in the business how can they be helped?

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peter May 8, 2012 at 6:50 pm

kindly i need some clarification on whether the existing cotton gineries or other textile factories could process the silk? we have farmers in the north rift who are willing to engage in the business how can they be helped?

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christine kiarie September 16, 2011 at 10:31 am

I am interested in rearing silkworms. Kindly assist me with information on how to do it. Am ready to start any time, I guess i should start with planting the mulberry first. Where to get it?

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Luigi September 16, 2011 at 10:58 am

Hi Christine. Perhaps you could start with the KARI station at Thika: http://agro.biodiver.se/2007/01/silk-making-in-kenya/#comment-923653

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TIMOTHY MUTUGI MURITHI December 29, 2011 at 9:02 am

lam interested in rearing mulberry worms ,where can l get these worms n when do u offer training

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Geoffrey kemei January 28, 2012 at 7:29 am

I am interested in silkworm rearing please send me the details and contact person.
Thanks.

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SIMON March 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Its really interesting to know that Kenya has potentiality to produce silk.well as someone who has been involved in farming and farming researches,I realized we have poor marketing,how have the bodies involved caring for this?am located at Maragua few kms from thika town.i have over 5acres of land with plenty of water throughout the year,am soo much intrested.who can asist in this.I’ll be so happy to hear from one concerned.thank you

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Francis Mureithi. May 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Hi Luigi. Your articles and links are very insightful. Let people also check info.biovision.com. Am interested in rearing silkworms. Got land in lanet, Elburgon and nyahururu. Is weather conducive in the areas for the same.

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Francis Mureithi. May 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Correction on link: infonetbiovision. Apologies.

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Timothy mutugi murithi September 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm

one year down the line since this idea of silkworm stuck my mind ,let me say have started the project it is a long run ,cultivation of mullebery takes 7-9 months .

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valerie September 9, 2012 at 9:11 am

Hi!am a design student interested in the use of silk in designs could you please send me info on where best quality silk that can be easily used with other types of fabrics can be found and the prices both internationally and locally here in Kenya.

thanks!

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Jeremy Cherfas September 9, 2012 at 10:58 am

Sorry; we don’t have that kind of information. I suggest you try locally in Kenya.

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Kariuki Kiragu November 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Sericulture resources
Greetings,

Please let me know where I can contact sericulture resources to work out the modalities of starting at a project at Masinga. There are orphaned school girls there who need financial and psycho-social support and I think sericulture is good as it gives time for study and yet can be a social undertaking.

Best regards,

Kariuki

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Everlyne April 25, 2013 at 10:27 am

Hi i need to get information if silk wood is found in kenya

thanks
Everlyne

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SYENGO JM January 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm

What is the name of the place where sericulture is being practiced in Mwingi? Am interested in doing research in that field for my Master degree.

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