Herat silk production exceeds 1 tonne
HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): The ancient silk-weaving industry has revived in western Herat province, with the silk production exceeding one tonne this year, officials said on Monday.
Ghulam Sediq Tabibzada, an official at the provincial Agriculture Department, told Pajhwok Afghan News the silk production had increased in Herat with a rise in rearing of silkworms.
This solar year, he said more than 6,000 families in Zandajan and 2,000 families in Guzara and Anjeel districts had been tasked with rearing silkworms, harvesting cocoons and producing silk.
“This year 3,000 boxes of silkworms were distributed to people. Of the boxes, 2,210 were donated by Rada organisation and 790 by the agriculture department,” he added.
“Last year, 3,000 boxes produced 1,050 kilograms of silk and the production increased to 1,140 kg this year,” he continued, linking the increase to better climate condition and market for silk products in Herat.
He said the price of one kilogram of silk rose to 1,000 afghanis this year against last year’s 400 afs. Tabibzada said silkworms imported from neighboring Iran were of poor quality as compared to those from China.
Shah Gul Ahmad, a resident of Anjeel district, said she worked raising silkworms and silk production with six other members of her family. “In the last two years, Rada organization has been assisting us and we are happy with our work.”
Abdul Wahid, 59, said he spent most of his life farming silkworms and collecting their cocoons for silk production. “For the last ten years this industry was nose-diving, but the situation of our work improved considerably during the past two years.”
Ghulam Rabbani, a local elder, said if the government provided them with quality silkworms, more than 500 families were prepared to work in the field.
Silkworms normally hatch in spring and their only food is mulberry leaf. During the first 50 days of their life cycle, the worms are kept in a clean environment at a temperature more or less between 70° – 75° F with similar percentage of humidity.
The mature worms stop eating, gradually lose appetite and turn yellowish-white as they begin spinning cocoon.
Major products made of silk in Herat include shawls, scarves, turbans and fabrics. Golsoom, 28, who works in silk weaving industry, said foreigners comprised their major customers. “We weave silk pieces and foreigners buy most of our shawls and ties.”
Zuhra, 25, was of the opinion that with government’s assistance, the craft that thrived for centuries could regain its past glory in the province.
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