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Uganda Ready to Commercialize Silk Production as Usilk Shows Promising Results on International Market


Uganda is now ready to begin commercial silk yarn production, Clet Wandui Masiga, the Executive Director of Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI) has revealed.

Results from Uganda’s silk yarn that was sent to Europe for grade testing were this week released and shows promising results.

“We are within the commercial grades. Our target was however Grade A,” Masiga, who is also the Principal Investigator of the Sericulture  said.

Wandui Masiga the ED of TRIDI addressing a conference recently

On December 16, 2022, Uganda sent it’s first silk yarn brand samples for testing in European market. This silk yarn is branded Usilk. 

The target, according to Masig was to meet the specifications for Grade 6A which is the best quality silk globally to begin commercial production. 

“Only less than 1-3% of silk production globally meets this grade. Usilk did not make it to the higher grade. However, the silk engineers and investors and entrepreneurs from Europe where the test was done are coming to Uganda next month to visit Uganda factory, so they can see cocoon quality, machine and production environment. This way they can provide suggestion in order to improve the quality to produce Grade 6A silk yarn,” he said adding,

Some of the Silk being produced by TRIDI under the Sericulture Product

“We did the research and we are convinced that our mulberry production is the best globally. Our research also demonstrates that the rearing conditions are also the best. We are also using the best or latest next generation processing equipment and as such we expected Grade 6A.  We decided that we shall build our own capacity by training young engineers to produce the yarn and they have done it first time,” 

The project, he said is producing a product that has a market and “we shall get revenue for our own livelihoods and for socio-economic development of Uganda,” 

Some of the youth operating the machine during the production of Silk

Grade 6A is the best quality of silk globally and only 1-3% of the silk produced in the world meets this grade. 

Uganda silk yarn branded Usilk which is 100% Ugandan and is produced by TRIDI and it is funded by government of Uganda.

The raw silk which Uganda is currently producing is divided into 11 grades, from 6A, 5A, 4A, 3A, 2A, A, B, C, D, E, to F. 

Masiga notes that once Uganda through TRIDI perfect the grade 6A production skills, the current 2300 mulberry acreage shall produce approximately 100 Metric tons of silk yarn which if we maintain Grade 6A.

Women operating the machine during Silk production

“We shall earn $12m (Sh43.2Bn) annually. If, however we produce average grade we should be able to $5m (Shs18Bb) annually. At this acreage, the project will directly employ 3000 people. The minimum wage bill of these 3000 people shall be Shs10.8Bn.

This, he said will translate into taxes totalling to ShsShs2Bn annually.

A kilogram of yarn produces 10 meters of silk cloth/fabric. The price for silk fabric ranges between $10 and $20 per meter depending on grade. 

“We are very proud of these results and we have produced this within the target timeframe. This is as a result of Financial Support from President Yoweri Museveni, to Scientists through the Innovation Fund. It is the first project of the 17 innovation fund projects funded in FY2017/2018 to produce a commercial product,” he said 

“We are grate full to Parliament of Uganda that has continued to appropriate funds to this project and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development for releasing the funds. We are also grateful to the relevant government of Uganda Ministries and agencies that have ensured the released funds are transferred to TRIDI and are used for the intended purposes,” he said

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