An assistant holds mulberry leaves as silkworms feed on them at the National Sericulture Research Center in Thika, Kenya. (AP)

An assistant holds mulberry leaves as silkworms feed on them at the National Sericulture Research Center in Thika, Kenya. (AP)

More and more Kenyan farmers are turning to silk production as they move away from traditional cash crops. (AP)

More and more Kenyan farmers are turning to silk production as they move away from traditional cash crops. (AP)

Young mulberry tree plants that silkworms thrive on are seen at the Research Center in Thika, Kenya. (AP)

Young mulberry tree plants that silkworms thrive on are seen at the Research Center in Thika, Kenya. (AP)

Research Center director Muo Kasina demonstrates a silk reeling machine. (AP)

Research Center director Muo Kasina demonstrates a silk reeling machine. (AP)

A tray of silkworm moths is shown. (AP)

A tray of silkworm moths is shown. (AP)

Muo Kasina explains the process of silk production to visitors. (AP)

Muo Kasina explains the process of silk production to visitors. (AP)

Silk Spins into Kenya

Posted: July 1, 2019

Farmers in Kenya grow coffee, cotton, maize, and sugarcane. They sell these crops for cash. But Kenya has a problem. Droughts hurt crops. Too little rain can destroy a farmer’s livelihood. Now Kenyan farmers are spinning a new idea for a new crop. It can handle the country’s harsh climate. It is drought-resistant. It can fetch up to $15,000 a year. For a Kenyan farmer, that’s a small fortune! The crop’s turn-around time is quick—less than two months! What is the new crop Kenyan farmers are crazy about? Silk!

Silkworms feed on mulberry trees. These trees are drought-tough. They grow well in Kenya. That’s good news for farmers. It doesn’t take long for a silkworm to make a silky cocoon. Cocoons are easy to harvest.

Japan, China, and India have always been top producers of silk. But their success is starting to unravel. “Production is lowering in China. It is more or less completely reduced in Japan. India is doing well in silk so we feel that Kenya can contribute to global silk demand,” says Muo Kasina, the director of a silk farming research center in Kenya.

Japan has excellent silk technology. Japanese people have the means to process silk into thread. But Japan doesn’t have good areas for silk farms. Japanese silk investors like Kenya. Why? The climate in Kenya is much better than Japan for silkworm crops. A partnership between Japan and Kenya sounds like a good idea. Kenya has the “sericulture,” or silk farming. Japan has the silk technology to make thread and fabric. Why not work together?

Officials at the world’s largest silk producer decided to create a silk processing factory and silk farm in Kenya. This will create more than 300,000 jobs for Kenyans! It sounds like silk farming is a smooth way for farmers to make steady cash.

Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. ― Psalm 85:12