Seeing its potential and with the rekindled interest of farmers, funds including other forms of assistance are being poured in to improve the sericulture industry in Kapangan, Benguet, Philippines.

Silk production is Kapangan’s One-Town-One-Product. The town produces high quality of silk as silkworm thrives well in the area due to its good climatic conditions, according to Fe Donato of the Fiber Industry and Development Authority (FIDA).

The silkworm industry started to prosper in 2005 during the time of then Mayor Rogelio Leon. The Department of Labor and Employment provided P1million worth of implements, seven units reeling machine designed by FIDA and three units re-reeling machine.

FIDA provided one unit cocoon dryer worth P1.94 million including 200 sets of cocooning frames and rotary frames. Donato said they also assisted in proposal making the offshoot is the funding from the DDB.

In 2007, the Dangerous Drugs Board allocated P1 million for the construction of 20 units of rearing houses.

Congressman Samuel Dangwa shared from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)P1 million for the construction of the livelihood center for the town’s OTOP.

When Mayor Robert Canuto took over, the second phase of the livelihood center took off. As the town’s counterpart, the LGU allotted P1 million, Dangwa also shared P500,000 from his PDAF and P300,000 from the Provincial Government of Benguet.

Last year, the DDB earmarked P3.5 million, allotting P2 million for the construction of 30 units rearing houses and P1.5 million for the construction of insulated cocoon storage room and incubation room or incubator implements for hatchery, according to Donato. A young age center for rearing newly hatched silkworm is established in Taba-ao, which is open to the farmers.

Donato said the Laginia-Anto Clan Inc. (LACI), a private group, also assisted in the promotion of the industry. They offered their area in Taba-ao, Kapangan as venue for almost three months for moriculture, the study of mulberry cultivation for silk production and processing of cocoons.

Sericulture industry in Kapangan is still in the production of raw silk, Bruno Canuto of the Office of the Mayor, explained and it is only when they shall have established and at the height of production that they will be partnering with companies for the marketing of its raw silk.

Donato said there was an increasing cocoon production since 2007. A total of 418.96 kilos of fresh cocoons were produced in 2007 sold in Bacnotan, La Union and to several crafters. In 2008, a total of 586 kilos fresh cocoons produced 72.6 kilos of unrefined silk.

To date, they already have already produced 477.1 kilos of fresh cocoons. Donato said they might overshoot their target of 625 kilos for the year. She explained that this October, there is an current rearing with expected production of more or less 120 to 130 kilos. Another batch will be rearing this November to be harvested December.

The raw silk produced in 2006 was used as promotional products during the opening of the 1st Benguet Silk Fashion Show particularly the set used for the wedding entourage.

Donato said the LGU is looking into the possibility of going into fabric meaning the weaving of the silk as it gives more added value to the production. She said, in fact, a training on weaving was conducted in 2006.

Coordination efforts with established weavers like Narda Capuyan, Maxi Pili of Kabayan, Lepanto, and Grail Cawed is ongoing as the LGU is planning to produce some in time for the Adivay this November.

Meanwhile, the Kapangan Environmental Livelihood and Multi-Purpose Cooperative – Sericulture has now 60 farmer-members. Fifty are farmer-beneficiaries, seven are children of the members who do silk reeling while three others focus on craft production of cocoon by products.

FIDA trained the crafters while the Department of Trade and Industry and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) provided the funding.(PIA)

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