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Goldrush: Farmers In Eldoret Shifting To Lucrative Sericulture Trade

silkworms
silkworms. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

There was the gold rush in Australia, the diamond rush in South Africa, the Quail bird business in Kenya and now, the sericulture trade (silk farming) that has gripped Kenyans and seen thousands rush to cash in on the lucrative trade.

Now, the bandwagon effect, as it’s called, has seen thousands of Kenyans rush to make a killing from the sale and produce of silk with the huge returns from the trade enticing many.

Unbeknownst to many, a kilo of silk goes for around Ksh3,000 and many traders have been camping at the door of sericulture pioneer Joe Kariuki to sell their produce and also work at his GPC silk farm in Eldoret.

Read: US Farming Equipment Giant John Deere Announces New African Dealers as it Seeks to Expand Business

Joe Kariuki says that he has partnered with Golden Power Coin to launch the expansive GPC Ranch aimed at the production of silk (Sericulture) in a large scale manner.

Joe Kariuki
Joe Kariuki speaks to journalists at the GPC farm. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]
Sericulture (or silk farming) has become a sudden hit with many jobless Kenyans who have been rushing to farm, to give it a try.

“Silk farming is a good venture that can rescue smallholder farmers off poverty as products from silk are of good price and could improve our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as compared to foreign exchange earnings from exportation of coffee, tea and pyrethrum,” said Kasina Muo, the Head of National Sericulture Research Centre.

Armed with that knowledge, thousands of Kenyans have abandoned their daily routines and jobs to jump into the viral silk trade.

Read: How I started My Pineapple Farming Business In Malindi – Limavest Founder Shicco Waweru

The farmland, located in the fruitful land of Eldoret, has now become a huge hit as Kariuki promises to employ 5,000 Kenyans not just on the farm but on his other various properties and offices.

“I have never heard of silk farming. I know maize farming, beans farming, all the rest. Silk is new to me and I find it exciting and fresh. I can’t wait to reap from it and stabilize my life from this trade. All of my friends have jumped into it too,” Caroline Muthoni, a new silk trader, says.

silk farming



Residents at the GPC farm in Eldoret where Kariuki launched silk farming activities. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

“This is our latest venture. Many don’t know us for such an overture but we are here to show Kenyans that we can morph from sitting in the office to doing massive works at the farms. Farming has always been the backbone of this country and with this silk venture, Kenyans will not sit back and cry anymore – we’ve got you covered, right away, ” Jared Lang’at, the GPC Farm spokesperson says.

The GPC farm has rolled out a wide-reaching offer to over 25,000 sericulture farmers willing to sell their silk to the firm and reap handsomely.

Golden Power Coin also now seeks to rope in as many as over 5,000 more Kenyans, drawn from all over the country, who will provide their various expertise, knowledge and skills at the silk farm and at the other related projects.

“Everyone is jumping on the trend. We are all on it. From Nairobi to Eldoret to Mauritius, there’s an endless trail of opportunities. So far, we have over 1,000 applicants and more are coming. It’s the rebirth of a nation,” Jared adds.

Read: With Just One Factory, Rwanda Starts Exporting Sugar To Kenya

In 2019, a group of women from western Kenya ventured into silkworm production to make a steady and more income of about Ksh75,000 each per month after replacing sugarcane with mulberry, the staple diet for silkworms.

Kambogo Women’s Group found in Rachuonyo, Homabay County, borrowed the idea from a farming group in Uganda before luring colleagues who saw the lucrative returns of the venture.

“I learned about silkworm production from Uganda and tried it out in a grass-thatched house having learned the skill of egg production from a silk farming group in Buseni,” said Pamela Onyango, the group chairperson.

One acre of mulberry can yield up to 4 boxes of silkworms per cycle. With good quality silkworm hybrids and proper rearing skills, each box can produce an average of 20–30 kg wet weight of cocoons depending on weather conditions, which translates to 80– 120 kg of cocoons per cycle.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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