By Roy Mabasa
The Japanese government is extending about P24 million to develop model sericulture farmers aimed at increasing the production of cocoon and high-quality raw silk in the Philippines.
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda signed the grant contract originally known as Project for Negros: spreading sericulture-based silkworms nationwide deployment Phase 2, in a ceremony at the Japanese Embassy on Monday (Jan. 20).
This project will be implemented through the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects, a small-grant funding program of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA).
Under the project, representatives from the provinces of Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, Aklan, Iloilo, Antique, Misamis Oriental, and Negros Occidental will undergo leadership development seminars for spreading sericulture operations, short-term training for sericulture farmers, and mulberry field maintenance.
While textile production is popular in the Philippines, Filipinos rely on imports from other countries for some of its raw silk materials, including those used for traditional clothing like the barong Tagalog.
The Organization for Industrial, Spiritual, and Cultural Advancement (OISCA), a Japanese NGO that has been supporting the sericulture industry in Negros for 20 years, will assist in training and the implementation of the program.
Since the start of the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects in the Philippines in 2002, Japan has implemented 51 projects in the Philippines under this scheme with a total amount of approximately JY1.2 billion.
“Japan believes that this project will not only strengthen the friendship between the peoples of Japan and the Philippines but will also bolster the existing strategic partnership between the two countries,” the Japanese Embassy in Manila said in a statement.