The Secretary General has undertaken an extensive in-house review on the various activities of the ISC and the status of sericulture industry in the world. Based on this review, the following major focus areas for the next three years have been identified:
1) Expanding the Membership base of ISC
While about 60 countries are involved in silk production, most of the other countries are associated with the industry are either silk processors or consumers. Since ISC has now decided to expand its activities covering all areas of the silk industry, it is critically important for the Government of these countries to align with the coordinated efforts of the ISC. Hence, ISC is making sincere efforts to connect with the respective Government departments of these countries for the overall development of sericulture and silk industry. The focus areas of expansion of sericulture activities would be in African, Asian and Latin American regions.
There are significant shifting in silk production bases in the world, whether within the countries or across the countries, due to rapid industrialization and urbanization. There are also considerable changes in production processes, product choice, nature of products, quality requirements, trade practices, etc. However, the good news is that the demand for silk is on the upward trajectory and it is expected that this trend may continue for another two decades. This gives greater opportunity for developing silk industry in African, Asian and Latin American countries due to shrinking of silk production bases in traditional areas. The silk industry also shares the global goals embedded as Millennium Development Goals (MDG) set by the United Nations. Considering these factors in mind, the ISC is planning to take up coordinated efforts to introduce and develop silk industry in an organized manner in potential areas of African, Asian and Latin American countries.
ISC Secretariat has recently prepared strategic papers for development of sericulture and silk industry in few of these countries.
2) Enduring Research in sericulture science, silkworm as a biological model and silk as a material
ISC proposes to take up multi-institute collaborative research projects among the R&D Institutions of ISC member countries. The reputed R&D institutes and Universities of the world would also be roped in for convergence of basic and applied research. The programme would also hasten the process of aggregating genetic materials dispersed in different parts of the world for evolving productive hybrids. The initial work on this is already underway.
Considering the fact that training is an important component for the development of silk industry, the ISC has given much attention to train the Government officials involved in the implementation of sericulture development programme in their respective countries. At present ISC organizes training programmes for the candidates deputed from the Member Countries. The ISC is also in discussion with the Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India to train persons from developing countries in sericulture and silk industry under the ‘India Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (ITEC) programme. Efforts are also underway to source resources from International Organizations to impart training for the stakeholders of silk value chain.
4) Provision of expert services under 'Volunteer Expert Programme'
Sericulture is a combination of agriculture, animal husbandry and industrial activities. The various activities associated with the industry are complex and therefore need scientific knowledge, skill and expertise. Many of the sericulturally developing countries in African, Asian and Latin American regions do not have sufficient human resources to meet these requirements. Most of these countries are also not able to hire experts outside the country due to financial constraints. Keeping this issue in mind, the ISC has compiled a list of Volunteers provided by the ISC Member Countries, who have offered their service for the development of silk industry in the world. The main focus of ISC is now deploying these Volunteers to the needy countries of the world.
5) Taking up Sericulture Development Programmes in Thrust Areas
Silk and silk products continued to hold a prime position in the Textile sector. The consumption of silk is on the upward trajectory at the rate of 3%, inspite of evolving many manmade fabrics and other emerging products. It is observed that this trend may continue for another two to three decades. While China is a major producer of silk in the world, the production is expected to be static or may come down there due to rapid industrialization and urbanization. This provides greater opportunities for the developing countries in Asian, African and Latin American regions to develop sericulture as a viable enterprise for employment generation and enhance export earnings. However, ISC observe that there is a greater need to introduce and develop sericulture and silk industry in these countries through coordinated actions and establishing the required infrastructure to build up backward and forward linkages. These actions need higher investments for which support from international funding agencies needs to be sourced in critical areas.
ISC now support the countries of these regions for the preparation of projects, its evaluation, posing the project proposals with the international agencies, implementation of the projects, etc. ISC has already initiated necessary actions to take up such projects in Latin American region, Kenya and Bangladesh.