Proyecto SEDA - Sustainable Sericulture

Promotion of sericulture in Latin America

Buenos Aires
December 10, 2016
ADELANTE Programme: Triangular Cooperation European Union Latin America and the Caribbean

The INTI will direct a project that aims to position the silk industry as a sustainable way of life for producers and craftsman in the region. The president of INTI, Javier Ibáñez, signed with Jolita Butkeviciene, director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission, the financing contract that formalizes the project "Contribution to the reduction of regional poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean, through sericulture with a sustainable approach and added local value ", within the framework of the Regional Cooperation Program of the European Union.

The main challenge for INTI during the next four years will be to transfer knowledge and experiences to the participating countries: Cuba, Mexico and Brazil, as well as Argentina. The project aims at sustainable economic growth and improvement in the quality of life of rural populations, from the production and cultivation of the silkworm, and the optimization and innovation in technical and organizational capacities of national research centers. In this line, Ibañez remarked: "This initiative is a mechanism through which we can provide an opportunity to the people who need it most. It is an instrument for the development of Latin American peoples. "

The program proposes as beneficiary’s family farmers, peasants, artisans, social organizations, protected social enterprises, educational institutions in marginal areas, entrepreneurs from popular and marginal sectors in rural and peri-urban areas of Latin America. Among the main activities scheduled are regional training in sustainable sericulture production and textile value added, establishment of demonstration centers, development of appropriate technologies and establishment of cooperation networks.

The project presented by the INTI, through its Textiles center, was selected among 88 other initiatives. "When we saw this call for a social area of ​​the European Union, we trusted that our work could fit into this initiative and we started to put together the project. We currently have a national network of silk ties and we are also part of the Latin American Silk Network (RELASEDA), "said the director of the INTI-Textiles Center and the initiative, Patricia Marino.

The lines of work will be technically directed by the INTI, in conjunction with the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA); the Experimental Station "Indio Hatuey", of Cuba; the Board of the Tourism Center and Servicola Training and Rebocería of Jiquilpan de México; and the State University of Maringá of Brazil.

Argentina as a technological reference for the sericulturist

Sericulture makes sense as a promotional tool for the most vulnerable sectors when it includes the addition of value, which implies the transformation of silk cocoons into various products: textile crafts, yarns, tissue paper or jewelry. In this sense, the economic strategy should be to produce cocoons in a sustainable and non-polluting manner, which in turn is transformed into various silk products, with very high value.

Against this background, the coordinator of the Silk Laboratory of the INTI-Textiles Center, Hugo Enciso, explains that this new project continues the work begun in 2001: it involves the promotion, diffusion and use of silk in Argentina by the producers, entrepreneurs, artisans. Now the challenge is to include designers, an instance in which INTI-Textiles would take a preponderant participation, due to the industrial transformation of this material.

"From INTI we developed the first prototype machines, which are small and of low volume and with which producers can add value to their artisanal transformation, that's where our presence became strong. So far, we have developed four teams, and this new stage will allow us to reach seder provinces, such as San Juan, Mendoza, Formosa and Chaco, where although there are local artisans there is still no continuous production, "added Enciso.

Regarding the link with other countries, the coordinator of the Silk Laboratory highlighted that Latin America is making progress in primary production but not in technology. "In this aspect, Argentina is a reference, they like our machinery because it is ideal for the productive model of other countries in the region."

"Our last two machines, the bobbin winder and the cut-cocoon, are key developments so that silk can be produced in a percentage 10 times higher than today, we believe that at some point silk production has to explode in the country with respect to at its referential value. Our dream would be the development of hundreds of entrepreneurs in different provinces or regions that can produce, because in what we do demand approximately one million to 10 million dollars of silk imports, that is to say that we have a very avid internal market , we believe that we can calmly supply it, "concluded Enciso.

Strategic partner

INTA will work jointly with INTI due to its expertise in the subject, since it has been focusing on sericulture as a strategy to support family farming and as a local value added for almost 10 years. "This project will allow us to expand the scope of our actions to other areas where there is a lot of potential, but we have not yet been able to reach it. We seek to expand and even improve what is already being done, and we also have a path in the development of technology that can serve other countries to develop sericulture from a higher level than we started. We can transfer our knowledge and perfect it locally, "said the provincial coordinator of the INTA Pro-Huerta program at AMBA-Delta, Francisco Pescio.

The management of Economic and International Cooperation of the INTI was key in the assembly and presentation of the project, due to the close relationship with other technical organisms of the region. "When regional calls were opened in cooperation with the European Union, we knew we had a lot to contribute, mainly emphasizing previous experiences. We link, together with INTA, with well-known organizations from different Latin American countries, in order to transfer knowledge that we have already acquired, "explained manager Graciela Muset.