MPs move to revive silkworm project

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MPs move to revive silkworm project
Minister Musenero (left) has been asked to revive the silkworm project.

Legislators on the parliamentary Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation have ramped up support for sericulture project, which they say government should revive to tap into its vast opportunities.

Led by the committee chair Alex Niyonsaba, the MPs said there is a need to review and align the legal framework on sericulture and align it to the new structure of science, technology and innovation administration in the country.

Sericulture, which involves cultivating silkworms and extracting silk from them, is projected to out-compete coffee as a leading foreign exchange earner for the country, according to the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), Dr Monicah Musenero.

Last week, the Niyonsaba-led committee urged Musenero to revive the sericulture project.

“We terminated the memorandum of understanding with the project lead as it was poorly designed and complicated to implement, and the Attorney General guided that there was a lot of ambiguity and difficulty for the project to run,” said Musenero last week.

Creation of a Secretariat for STI under the Office of the President has created a gap and left everything industrial and technological haphazardly executed.

Niyonsaba stressed the need to have a harmonised approach and have all the sector players under one house in order to enhance the coordination and supervision in the Sector.

The sinecures created due to the lack of a harmonised front and journeying together has caused duplication of roles and thus waste of resources and stagnation.

The impact of STI operations need to be more felt and impactful.

The one-day sector familiarisation and orientation of the newly constituted STI committee saw all the MPs and the leadership call for harmonisation of the legislation and legal framework, profiling of all the projects and availing of their leads as key.

This would ease and strengthen supervision and oversight, thus propelling the social economical development; the main target of STI as a drive force.

MPs said government had already invested heavily in the project and urged the minister to resolve the difficulties and restore the project.

Abim District Woman MP Janet Okori-Moe and also chairperson of the agriculture committee, said there is evidence that silk production would significantly boost the economy, if there was proper coordination, legislation, and a committed team.

“We are told that our country has a good climate for mulberry trees from which the silkworms are fed, I am aware the little silk exported to Tanzania earned us $45,000 as of 2022," Okori-Moe said.

"We need to build the synergy, come up with clear policies, and build a strong system for this sector."

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