Kenya: Can Silk Shield Farmers from Climate Change?
The ancient art of silk production, or sericulture, was first introduced to Kenya in 1904. Because of its high setup costs and specialist techniques, it remained an elite business until 40 years ago, when the Kenyan and Japanese governments set up the National Sericulture Project to promote silkworm rearing in Kenya.
Traditionally, Kenyan farmers have grown tea, coffee and maize. But new diseases and erratic weather are increasingly reducing yields. Many farmers are unsure how to respond effectively. Silk farming offers one solution. Sericulture is better suited to erratic weather because mulberry trees, whose leaves the silkworms eat, are resilient and require little water. And silkworm rearing is a safer investment because it provides a steady monthly income.