Japan extends P24 million grant for silk production
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Japanese government has provided a P24-million grant to improve local silk production and lessen dependence on the importation of raw silk materials.

The $473,329 financial grant is part of the continuation of program for sericulture or silk production in Negros Islands.

The Negros silk project is managed by Japan-based Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA) International which extends help to developing countries, mostly in Asia and the Pacific,  with agriculture as its main thrust.

Funding for the project was made through the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects, a small-grant funding program of Japan’s Official Development Assistance.

Textile production is popular in the Philippines, but for silk raw materials Filipinos commonly rely on imports including those used for traditional costumes such as the Barong Tagalog.

The government aims to achieve the domestic production of all silk threads used in the country, making the nationwide deployment of support for sericulture, together with OISCA, an essential project to achieve such goal.

The project will involve other provinces including Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, Aklan, Iloilo, Antique, Misamis Oriental and Negros Occidental which will undergo leadership development seminars for spreading sericulture operations, short-term training for sericulture farmers, and mulberry field maintenance.

The OISCA silk project in Negros started in 1999 with the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency with the aim to help improve the living conditions of the people of Negros Island.

Through the assistance of JICA, OISCA was able to develop a 26-hectare farmland and sericulture training center located at Barangay Tabunan in Bago City, Negros Occidental.

It has a silk reeling factory that produces tons of silk yarns which are bought by clothing manufacturers across the country and are exported to various cities around the globe.

 The project also includes the production of silkworm eggs and the growing of mulberry trees as food for the silkworms.

OISCA silk weaving centers produce 1.5 metric tons of silk yarn annually, accounting for 90 percent of the country’s total production.

The Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects started in the Philippines in 2002. Since then, the Japanese government has inked contracts for 51 projects in the country under this scheme amounting to around 1.2 billion yen.

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