By Roy Mabasa
The Japanese government on Thursday signed a US$426,168 (approximately P22.15 million) grant assistance to help boost the country’s production of silk through sericulture or the art of silk making.
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda led the signing of the grant to fund the project of spreading sericulture-based silkworms nationwide during a ceremony at its embassy in Pasay City.
Grant recipient Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement International (OISCA), a Negros-based Japanese non-government organization, will provide the necessary support and assistance to the project.
In a statement, the Japanese Embassy noted that while textile production is popular in the Philippines, Filipinos commonly rely on imports from other countries for some of its raw silk materials, including those used for traditional costumes such as the Barong Tagalog.
Under this project, the provinces of Benguet, Aklan, and Misamis Oriental will undergo leadership development seminars for spreading sericulture operations, short-term training for sericulture farmers, and mulberry field maintenance.
“The project aims to develop model sericulture farmers whose additional expertise in the future will certainly increase the production of cocoon and high-quality raw silk,” the Japanese Embassy said.
The grant for this venture is funded through the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects, a small-grant funding program of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA).
The assistance of OISCA in the silk farming industry in the Philippines has come a long way, carrying out sericulture support business in the Negros Island for more than 20 years.
Started in 2002, the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects has made 49 projects in the Philippines under this scheme amounting to approximately JY1.1 billion in total.
“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 Embassy said.